On the morning of Day 57 of Join the Journey Home, the Boston skyline came back into view just before 9 a.m. I’m almost seeing the finish line! Hard to believe I’ve walked almost 1,000 miles and over two million steps, with only one more day till I come full circle back at the Ronald McDonald House in Boston Harbor. Well, hard to believe in my head anyways. My feet? They know.
I began this last leg of the journey on the coast of Connecticut with a much appreciated two-night complimentary stay at the Pier Blue Inn in Old Saybrook. Super management staff and enthusiastic crews greeted me at Joe Labianca’s McD stores in East Lyme, Waterford, and New London. Then I crossed over into Rhode Island, finally heading north again, up into Massachusetts.
Keeping the glow in the golden arches in East Lyme, Waterford and New London, CT
While Rhode Island might be the smallest state mileage-wise, it was a huge landmark in Join the Journey Home. First stop was the McD’s in East Greenwich, where I enjoyed a wonderful early morning welcome before heading over to the Warwick McD’s.
Then came a highlight of the entire trip, a stop I’d been excited to make since i started back in August—at Cardi’s Furniture and Mattress in West Warwick. For over 30 years, Ron and Pete Cardi and staff have been instrumental in building and sustaining the Ronald McDonald houses in Providence and Boston Harbor. In fact, after meeting with RMH directors at the national level, they brought the concept here with the building of RMH Providence—the first of its kind house in New England where families in medical crisis could stay close to ill or injured loved ones. Plenty of people who succeed in business are content to count their money and stash it away. Other very special people decide instead to invest in their communities. And that’s exactly what Cardi’s continues to do. So it was a memorable “full circle” moment, indeed, to stop and say thanks on my journey home.
Providence was a whirlwind of other noteworthy stops on the JTJH trail, including the Providence RMH—the sixth and final house till I end up where I started! My complimentary room at the posh Renaissance Hotel made me feel like Kevin, the little kid in Home Alone 2 when he stays at the Plaza in New York City. Except I was anything but lonely. In addition to meeting more supporters and new friends, I caught up with some old friends along the way. College bud John Affleck treated me to a carb overload dinner at Angelo’s Restaurant before I rounded out Rhode Island with longtime friends and generous sponsors, Steve and Lynne Walach at the Providence McD’s.
First stop back in the Bay State was in Attleboro at (you guessed it) the McD’s run by Rich Hogan and his amazing crew. And I’d say that even if they hadn’t baked me a cake! Store meet and greets in Foxborough, Norwood, Roxbury and Boston will bring my grand total McD’s visits to 65 before I’m home at RMH Boston Harbor.
If you somehow missed me, there is still plenty of time to catch up and Join the Journey Home. I might be stopping, sitting down for awhile, actually driving places for a change. But the need to keep families close never stops. See you at the finish line! And until October 16, you can double your impact, thanks to RMHCNE Board President Paula Wright’s pledge to match dollar for dollar up to $15,000!