Rockford Deacon Arrives In D.C., Plans Thursday Event

Jun 16, 2014

The director of a Rockford social service agency has completed a 900-mile walk to Washington D.C.

It was no April Fools' Day joke. Deacon Lou Ness has been walking every day since April First with a mission to make it to the nation's capital. It was part of an effort to raise awareness for poverty in local communities. She's the director of Rockford's Shelter Care Ministries. She finished what she started this weekend.

Ness being greeted by Bishop Dorsey McConnell on the steps of Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh
Credit Shelter Care Ministries

"I just started weeping. I almost couldn't step over the line. I just kind of stared at it," Ness said.

She'll rest for a few days and write letters to lawmakers about the stories of poverty she heard along the way. On Thursday, she'll meet with supporters at the National Cathedral.

"Then we walk to the Capitol and I don't know what will happen there. The crowd will walk with me. I will give the letters to someone I hope will receive them and deliver them."

As for the way back? She'll be driving.

From an e-mail to supporters:

"It was the perfect day.  The sun was bright, the sky was blue, there was a slight breeze that kept us pretty cool for most of the day and at the corner of Wisconsin Ave and Something (can't remember now) I stepped into Washington, DC -- 930 miles from Rockford,IL.

As I write this, I am aware of feeling teary, weepy. It is hard for me to even fathom that God would trust me to carry out this extraordinary task.  I am humbled that so many of you have walked this journey with me.  Thank you.

I had moments of respite and I am aware that for people who live in poverty respite is rare and Shelter Care in Rockford offers respite to so many families and individuals every day.  I am grateful for Shelter Care and the many organizations across the country who also offer, "respite."