By Jane Stoever
Long on talking, long on walking. A band of Charles Carney’s friends gathered Sept. 5 for the Admire-to-Miller part of his Peace Walk from Wichita, KS, to Kansas City, MO. Eager to catch up on his walk, we ate a late lunch with him and his wife and support driver, Donna Constantineau. Then we hit the trail.
We rambled and ambled. We sweated. We drank in the beauty of the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the glory of the sunset. Charles and Kimberly Hunter walked the trail for 7 miles; some of us walked 5 miles; some covered the trail after 8 pm to come toward Charles and Kimberly from the far end of the day’s stretch. Charles had called us and asked that we bring them water, and in the distance, we eventually saw Charles wave a cell flashlight deep into the dark.
Driving back to our eastern Kansas and Missouri homes, we talked about why we made the journey. “I did it to celebrate my 58th birthday!” said Bennette Dibben of Independence, laughing. “I came to support Charles, and because I really believe in peace. We need not to invest in all these wars. We spend so much money on war, and we don’t take care of people—that’s why we have so many homeless.”
Ann Suellentrop of KC KS accented Charles’s mission—to let people know the world is threatened by both climate change and nuclear weapons. “Most people don’t know about our nuclear bomb plant,” she said, referring to the destination of Charles’s Peace Walk late this month, the National Security Campus in KC MO. “They don’t know that nuclear weapons are made of three elements—tritium, uranium, and plutonium. When I talk with students at Park University or Avila University, I tell them we make plutonium from uranium, and it lasts for centuries, poisoning our air and Earth. What a stupid thing to do!”
Kimberly, of the Eliza B. Conley House of Resilience in KC KS, said why she came to walk with Charles for the second day in a row: to support him! She added, “The trail is special to me—I’m studying the history of the Kaáⁿze people, who used to own this land. There’s an intersection between White people taking native lands, saying they would make better use of the land than the indigenous people. The Whites justified their prejudice.” On the way home, we passed the massive Honeywell plant at the intersection of Highways 7 and 10, and talked about Honeywell making home security devices, fans, and—at the National Security Campus—making parts for nuclear weapons. “Some of these lands the Kaáⁿze used to own are vacant, and a company like Honeywell can move right in,” said Kimberly.
So much for car talk. We all got home before midnight, weary and happy. To see how you can support Charles in his newly named Wichita-to-KC Bob Lavelle Memorial Peace Walk, contact him at 913-603-2483 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.