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  1. #1
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    Default Bill Irwin hiking again...

    Article from today's local Charlotte paper..


    He envisions more hiking in his future
    Charlotte Observer (NC)
    July 24, 2006

    Bill Irwin is the only blind person to have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. The former Burlington, N.C., resident has since parlayed that experience into a book and a motivational speaking career. Staff writer Jennifer Rothacker spoke with Irwin, 65, who lives in Maine with his wife, Debra.

    Q. Are you still hiking?

    Not really because I don't have time. The last year and a half, we've been adopting a little girl. That's taken a tremendous amount of my time. She's a (12-year-old) girl we met at our church. She's in the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) system. Amanda's what we call a difficult, high-intensity, high-energy child. Which means her behavior is less than what most people would desire when adopting a child.

    They placed her in our care, and two months later took her away from us. We're in the process of fighting the system to be reunified with our little princess.

    Q. What happened?

    We have a different lifestyle. We're vegans, we eat no animal products, and we're Christians. We're committed to spiritual activities. They (DHHS) couldn't tolerate that. They didn't like that when she had a temper tantrum we'd pray over her and that would calm her right down. They thought it was some sort of voodoo or cultish practice.

    They held a kangaroo court, took her away. We haven't been able to contact her since. It's devastating to all of us. We talked to the governor today and he's investigating it.

    Q. Do you have other children?

    I have three grown children; my wife has none. We felt it was a good investment, the only chance this little girl would have for a good life.

    Q. Are you hoping to resume hiking?

    Since this stress with Amanda, we've been taking weekends to reintroduce ourselves to fun activities. Last weekend we camped out at a lake, canoed.

    We're in the middle of hiking the Finger Lake Trails. That's only 600 miles; we're about halfway done with it.

    Q. You used a Seeing Eye Dog, Orient, during your Appalachian Trail hike. Do you still keep a dog?

    I have a fairly new one, just turned 5. He's my first non-shepherd. He's a cross between a black lab and a golden retriever. Colby.

    Q. Have you re-hiked any parts of the Appalachian Trail?

    Oh, yeah, I've done a lot of sections over again. I've also done trails all over the world. The Appalachian Trail was 2,168 miles. Since then I've done another 5,000 miles.

    Q. What's your motivational speech message?

    If I can do it, anybody can.

    # # #

  2. #2
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    Default Bill Irwin

    Tell Bill...his buddy "Model T" will be entering Maine soon on the A.T(his 4th thru-hike)....& he could get in few miles with "M.T."....hehehehehehe
    see ya'll UP the trail!

    "Jaybird"

    GA-ME...
    "on-the-20-year-plan"

    www.trailjournals.com/Jaybird2013

  3. #3

    Default Book

    I just started reading Bill's book last night, got through the first few chapters. Pretty good, but AT books make me miss the trail badly.
    Cedar Tree

  4. #4
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Glad to hear he plans to hike again. I hope his new dog, Colby, turns out to be a good hiking dog.

    It makes my blood boil when I hear about states who allow their supervisors' personal prejudices about families' lifestyles to interfere with adoptions. You can bet the social worker working directly with the Irwins and that workers' immediate supervisor wer comfortable with the situation (or Amanda would have never been placed at all), but was forced to disrupt it due to pressure from above. Several foster children have grown up and sued various states for having done this to them -- and have won. A kick in the pocketbook (which draws the ire of the top dogs) and bad press are the only things that will change such practices. The way the states react to losing a lawsuit is to make a bunch of new rules. Getting politicians involved - especially if they are getting letters and calls from voters about the situation - also works on single situations. Too bad no state has ever had the guts to make this rule "if the child is doing well in the placement and there are no signs of coersion or abuse - let the adoption happen"

  5. #5
    I hike, therefore I stink.
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    The DHHS can't have children learning how to pray and be vegans! If that happens the kids might grow up and NOT be dependent upon the state. Where will those DHHS jobs be then?
    If you don't have something nice to say,
    Be witty in your cruelty.

  6. #6
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    It ain't right to force a 12 year old to be a vegan or a christian.

  7. #7
    Frieden and Ed - World Explorer Team frieden's Avatar
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    Irwin has such media clout, this will be resolved soon. Seriously, would your governor or congressman drop everything, and help you? So far, it hasn't worked for me.

    People don't like something that is different to them. I got kicked out of my church, because I'm a Democrat, and I'm a Democrat because I care about the environment. I just got turned down for a job (after getting it), because the guy's wife knew me from church. I just wanted to call her up, and say, "Yes, I still have the John Kerry sticker on my car - b**ch!" I can see where it would be a crime to be both a vegan and a Christian. I don't think the Church would approve of that. "Killing" and "Christian" are like "peanut butter" and "jelly". Christians have the bloodiest history that I know of in any religion. They might allow an adult to be vegan, and try to work on their "sin", but they wouldn't allow it to spread. That's what did me in. They tolerated me as a Democrat, but booted me out when I became active (helping the Democrats, even though it was outside of the church). You know, everyone is allowed to be a sinner, but they can't let it spread.

    I just heard this morning that a state (Virginia?) is trying to take a child away from parents, because they are wanting to use natural alternative medicine for their child, instead of chemo. The parents say that the chance chemo is giving is low, and they want their child to be able to do things they've always wanted to do with their time left, and want to rely on alternative medicine in the meantime. If I heard correctly, they are hiding the child, and are willing to go to jail because of it. Heck ya, I'd take my child to another country! If you could spend your time hiking trails and living life, instead of being sick in a hospital before you die, which would you choose? The Government has no right to interfere with that decision. Are we allowed to make any decisions as parents, anymore?

  8. #8
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    It ain't right to force a 12 year old to be a vegan or a christian.
    I agree, but is it OK for a 12 yo to choose to live with vegan, Christian parents? If the 12 yo was showing signs of religious coercion (doubtful since the Irwins met her at their church) or telling workers the food sucks, then I could understand why they disrupted the adoption, but there is no indication the child was troubled by these things - just that the state's hierarchy was.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    It ain't right to force a 12 year old to be a vegan or a christian.
    Whoa! Bill ain't forcing that little girl to see things his way. He simply said that he and his wife uses prayer to calm her down. Bill ain't that kind of operator!

    I know you know Bill, but I too have come to know the man in person and through email. When I was in Greenville, Maine for a summer I would constantly run into him and Avery down at Shaws in Monson.

    In my opinion, that man forces his views on no one. He just wants to love this little girl and in his way of thinking, this is the best way to do it. She'll grow up to know that if she doesn't already.....

  10. #10
    Crazy Larry #1's Avatar
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    I encourage all thos who are members here and who support the Irwins in this situation, to write to the State of Maine and its Governor and let them know what you think!

  11. #11

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    Bill Erwin?...Hmmmm...Is'nt he the guy over in Ozzyland who say's "Crikey, what a NAUGHTY little snake!" and "danger!!! danger!!!" a lot?.

  12. #12
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    That would be Steve Irwin with an I. You're way off.

  13. #13
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    Given that we're talking about a "difficult, high-intensity, high-energy child" whose chances of adoption are probably poor, if that, I tend to believe that Irwin adopting this kid is giving her a break even if she was being forced to be a vegan and a christian. I'll phrase it this way: if anyone out there really objects to this child being raised as a vegan and a christian, perhaps they'd care to step up and offer the kid a better situation.

    It's not that I'm crazy about christians and vegans; I'm not. However, I haven't seen anything that makes me think this kid is better off in state custody.

    My $0.02. Back to lurking.

  14. #14
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    GG, check out this site for info on the Bill Irwin under discussion
    Last edited by Frolicking Dinosaurs; 07-25-2006 at 09:47.

  15. #15
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    Kids love Oscar Meyer bologna sammiches and hot dogs.

  16. #16
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    Kids love Oscar Meyer bologna sammiches and hot dogs.
    True enough, but most of all they love being loved.

  17. #17
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    It ain't right to force a 12 year old to be a vegan or a christian.
    you would have to agree that it would be a better life than what she had in the system...
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

  18. #18

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    Bill Irwin is the only blind person to have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail.
    How blind is Bill if he can pour OJ to hikers at his ministry feast in Maine and have email correspondence with the Only Wanderer?

    My buddy Hickory is also legally blind and section hiked it.

    Since this is only Bill's view, I'll wait to pass judgement, but his efforts to calm the girl during a "temper tantrum" sounds cultish to me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Solemates
    you would have to agree that it would be a better life than what she had in the system...
    Yes I would agree.

  20. #20
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Sly, my recently deceased uncle was blind enough to wall into walls in unfamiliar environs and to be unable to recognize you until you spoke or he touched you, but he could cook, do laundry, feed his beloved cats and care for his garden in his familiar environment and he was only blind for five years. After so many years without sight, I imagine Bill has developed the ability to do many things using his other senses.

    As for communicating, there is software that will convert text to voice and voice to text. We bought it for my mom who can no longer type due to Parkinson’s (unfortunately, she can no longer remember how to use the software due to Alzheimer’s)

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