BY ADAM TROXTELL
For most participants, Craig’s Walk is a nice way to raise money for Special Olympics; for the Meyers, it’s only a warm-up.
Thirteen years ago, Stewart Meyer and his wife, Bethann, decided walking to Stillwater, the site for the Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games, would be a great way to raise money for a cause they find very worthy.
“We were thinking of ways to promote and raise money for the Special Olympics, and she said ‘Let’s walk to Stillwater,’” Stewart Meyer said. “We’ll do about 20-25 miles a day, and we start tomorrow morning; so, we’ll get there around two or three o’clock on Wednesday. It’s amazing what you see in Oklahoma by walking.” This year’s Summer Games begin on May 8.
Supporting the organization has been a passion of the Meyer's for much longer, with Stewart first getting involved in 1984 when he was serving one of his 29 total years as a state trooper. Their son, Craig, joined them until his tragic death in a plane crash at the age of 26. The efforts of the Meyer’s and their friends to keep their son’s spirit of volunteerism influential has led to Craig’s Walk, a community-wide walk-a-thon at the Chickasha Activity Center all to raise money for Special Olympics. Since its beginning in 2007, the walk has been done on the eve of their journey to Stillwater.
“People in Chickasha really get on board,” Stewart Meyer said. “A lot of businesses donate. We’ve walked a total of 1600 or 1700 miles and raised a total of about $57,000. Our goal is to get another $10,000 this year.”
Bethann, who was a teacher in Chickasha for 32 years, said she thought of walking to Stillwater because it combined two loves: walking and promoting Special Olympics. The Meyer’s introduced Craig’s Walk after they found out others in the community had similar interests.
“People would always say ‘I wish I could walk to Stillwater with you,’” Bethann Meyer said. “We had to do something for his memory, so this is something local that involves the whole community.”
Craig went with his father to the games in Stillwater for the first time when he was nine years old. Although he was a little nervous at first, Stewart said his son quickly began to enjoy it.
“At the end of that day, he said ‘You know, if everyone gave the effort and the love that these special athletes give, this world would be a better place,’” Stewart said. “I think that’s still very true today.”