MapleCreek resident Warren Timmerman, 61, blind since birth, couldn’t hide his excitement as he talked about plans for a great adventure: he would go camping with four friends from church and then complete the Mackinac Bridge Walk on Labor Day, a lifelong dream.
One of his “trainers” was a fellow resident at The Terraces at MapleCreek, 89-year-old Anna Rumisek. She helped Timmerman prepare for the bridge walk, accompanying him on walks around the senior living campus and giving him wise, motherly advice about nutrition. “People really should get outside and get some fresh air and exercise,” Anna said. “I go out every day.” Life Enrichment Assistants Linda Cross and Melissa Johnson also walked with Timmerman.
“We stayed at Aloha State Park on Mullett Lake, south of Cheboygan. That’s about 18 miles from Mackinac City,” Timmerman said. “We slept in a big, comfortable trailer. And on Saturday night, my friends cooked hamburgers outdoors and we sat by the campfire. On Sunday, we went to church in the morning, and that evening we took a vespers cruise on a boat and went under the Mackinac Bridge.”
Early Monday morning, Governor Jennifer Granholm and her husband, Dan Mulhern, and a group of about 400 runners led the way across the five-mile-long bridge connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, a Labor Day tradition since 1958. The walkers – nearly 42,000 – followed behind.
Timmerman’s friends brought a wheelchair along just in case he might need to rest during the walk, but he said they moved at an easy pace so he didn’t have any problems. “People around us were walking and talking, just having regular conversations and enjoying their time on the bridge. It was a lot of fun,” he said.