“I want them to be hope centers, not just homeless shelters, to help the homeless build skills and get a second chance on life,” Leroy Bailey said as he sipped his coffee, waiting for his breakfast with Shannon Nill of Guaranty Chevrolet and RV Super Centers in Junction City, Oregon.
By now you may have heard his story.
Mr. Bailey, now 52 years old, left his wife, job and kids on June 30th, 2014, to walk the perimeter of the United States with a mission to raise money and awareness for America’s homeless. His journey is nearly half complete. He estimates that Seattle will be about half way. As of this morning, his feet have carried him just over 5,500 miles.
He keeps his iPhone 5 handy to track his next steps and a friend back home has been helping him track is mileage along the way. Bailey has been averaging about 22.4 miles a day.
His journey brought him through Eugene, where a local news affiliate, KVAL, picked up his story and shared it with the community. This is how local business owner, Shannon Nill, found out about Bailey’s story. As luck would have it, Nill and Bailey’s paths would cross. In fact, they would cross right in front of the Guaranty Chevrolet Showroom in Junction City.
Nill reached out to Bailey on the street and began a conversation. He asked if he had a place to stay and when Bailey said no, Nill kindly invited him to sleep in a house that he owns on the dealership property. Bailey accepted his invitation and even joined Nill for breakfast at the Viking Inn, in Junction City the next morning.
How dedicated is Bailey?
After getting a ride to breakfast, Bailey rode back with Nill to the house where he slept to begin walking again. He didn’t want to cheat, even though it was only a quarter-mile back.
“When you meet people like Leroy, it gives you faith in mankind. His efforts are to benefit other people and he is a genuinely good person,” said Nill.
Bailey’s goal is to return home to his wife by June of 2016, so they can celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary together.
If you would like to learn more about Bailey’s journey, you can check out his Facebook page here, or if you would like to help support it, check out his Gofundme page here.