Kim Denmark is hoping her walk across America will cause an epidemic. She’s named her campaign “I Choose to Do Something,” and, what she chooses is to create awareness for the country’s homeless, especially veterans who are homeless.
Though Denmark has spent time meeting and socializing with officials and residents in Jacksonville and Piedmont the past few days, she has a reason to do so. She’s trying to enlighten them about the seriousness of the problem.
“I don’t think any veteran should come home and be homeless,” she said. “I feel like America is a priority for the veterans, and America should make them a priority. When these guys are on the front line, their number one concern is America. When they come home, they fall through the cracks. I don’t think it’s right.”
Denmark blames this on systematic bureaucracy. She gives an example.
“It takes at least two weeks to get an appointment to be seen by a doctor,” she said. “If we waited weeks for help to come to the front line, we’d be dead.”
Denmark said she’s being hard on the country’s decision-makers because she believes they’re not getting on the band wagon fast enough to help veterans.
“I’ve been screaming this for 104 months,” she said.
Denmark left Piedmont Monday for Cedartown. From there, she will walk to Marietta. Her next stop will be Atlanta, where she will stay two weeks. After leaving Atlanta, she will head to Washington, D. C., where she hopes to share information she has collected along the way with the President’s administration.
After she leaves Washington, she’ll continue her walk to 33 more states.
Born in Michigan, Denmark lives in Ohio with her parents. Prior to starting her walk, she owned a staffing agency.
“When I became successful in my business, I was not willing to share or give back,” she said. “My attitude was arrogant. I was self-centered. It was the poor people who made my temp agency successful.”
She said her attitude changed on the day she experienced an epiphany with the Lord and was given a second chance to do several things, one of which was to heal her body.
“I had been ill and we don’t know what the illness was,” she said. “God gave me a second chance to be a servant for the people.”
Denmark said she has lived in shelters to research and collect data. She has learned there is no one reason why people are homeless.
Denmark said she would eventually like to build a self-sufficient campus which would house a multi-purpose center, including an educational department, where two-year degrees could be obtained.
The center would include drug and alcoholic treatment facilities and a library. It would contain 200 beds for those who are transitioning from the streets. She wants to include a women’s and children’s facility.
Naming the center was easy. She’ll call it Journeys to Care.
“Journey is about my leg work, my walk across America,” she said. “The caring part is the people. It’s all about the people. I’m not just walking, I’m meeting officials in cities and trying to get them to choose to do something. I would hope that in my choosing to do something, it will become an epidemic in all the states.”
Denmark said the most important thing is that the homeless be introduced to the Lord.
“If you don’t have a relationship with Him, you’re never going to get out of anything,” she said. “You can’t depend on any agency.”
Denmark spoke with Mayor Johnny Smith in Jacksonville and Mayor Bill Baker in Piedmont. She said she’d like to thank them as well as the Hampton Inn in Jacksonville, the Country Hearth Hotel in Piedmont, Beverly and Bobby Davis, Tammy and Bill Dankovich and the Baggett family.