Walking with a purpose: Don Henry inspires others with a 14-mile walk to Union

By Dick Mason May 21, 2014 11:19 am

Don Henry walked 14 miles Monday - from his home in Island City to downtown Union. Henry, who has battle prostate cancer recently, is 82 years old. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)
Don Henry walked 14 miles Monday - from his home in Island City to downtown Union. Henry, who has battle prostate cancer recently, is 82 years old. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)
 

Three years ago, prostate cancer sidelined Island City’s Don Henry.

Today, Henry, 82, is cancer free but believes he is still recovering from the side effects of the successful radiation treatment he received.

“I’m still not 100 percent. I lost a lot of energy,” Henry said.

The Island City resident on Monday displayed no side effects from the radiation treatment. Instead, he was a picture of health and inspiration. 

Henry made a most memorable journey, walking 14 miles from Island City to Union. 

Sitting in Gravy Dave’s restaurant in Union minutes after finishing, Henry seemed ready to walk back to his home in Island City.

“I feel good,” Henry said as he enjoyed a soft drink with his wife, Nadine.

Henry was greeted by a number of people in the restaurant, including a woman who told him — “I’m 55 and I couldn’t do what you did.”

Henry’s source of inspiration, Homer Thorpe, 66, of La Grande, also congratulated him. Henry became interested in making the walk several years ago after he met Thorpe. He learned that Thorpe walks from La Grande to Union each year at the start of the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show. Thorpe, 66, has been doing this for three decades. 

“I told him, ‘If you can do it, I can do it,’” said Henry, who trained for his hike by making daily two- to three-mile walks with his wife. 

For the full story, see Wednesday's edition of The Observer.