They’ve been on the road for eight long months.
Their mission, one rooted in community, kindness and compassion.
Their names are Kirk and Cindy Sinclair.
Their dedication to the cause that drives them is admirable, the Connecticut couple in the midst of a 5,000-mile trek around the United States, spreading their message to all encountered en route.
That message, a humanitarian one.
The Sinclairs’ route might not bring them to Rhode Island, but still, theirs is a message that speaks loud and clear to us all in our studio, here in Saunderstown.
The language might be a little different, but boil it down and the meaning behind it is the same.
Kirk and Cindy’s message, that under natural conditions, people are kind to each other.
Our own, that we are all connected.
The Sinclairs’ epic journey began on May 25, 2011, when they departed Port Reyes, California, following the path of the American Discovery Trail.
This, the only coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreational trail in the United States, a path that passes through 15 states, linking lives and connecting communities as it passes right through our nation’s heart.
Using nothing but their own steam – that is, their feet – the Sinclairs have averaged 20 miles a day, their current location Indiana, their final destination Delaware.
Impressive stuff, no doubt.
But even more admirable than the couple’s athletic endeavours are the qualities underpinning their extraordinary effort.
You see, Kirk calls himself the Hiking Humanitarian and his reasons for undertaking such a challenge are ones rooted in harmony, love and connection.
The couple have spent the last eight months trekking from town to town, to use his words, ‘reporting, observing and sprouting the seeds of kindness’.
You see, the Sinclairs are all about reaching out, touching lives and generating a greater awareness of humanitarianism and its importance in communities throughout the United States.
Helping people, looking out for each other.
Doing the small things and making a difference.
To quote Kirk, ‘We document how people and communities are kind to their own; we document how they’ve been kind to us’.
Travelling the country, taking inspiration in stories and motivation from good deeds, making people think about the effect their actions can have on others.
People like Carolyn Roderick, encountered during a bad afternoon in Utah.
Having herself benefited from the kindness of others in the past, Carolyn was moved to provide food and shelter for the Sinclairs, coming to their aid in an hour of need.
This, a prime example of ‘paying it forward’, Carolyn’s own experiences inspiring her to reach out, demonstrating that the smallest kindnesses can often make the biggest difference.
In Kirk’s words, it’s ‘not about changing the world, it’s about helping your community,’ the idea being that small deeds can be used to achieve great things.
‘We’ve been received well everywhere we’ve been,’ he says. ‘Regardless of ideology, everyone takes to the idea of community, that we need to rely on each other to address our issues. We feel each other’s pain. We feel each other’s joy. The reason we’re filled with empathy is for the reason of caring for each other’.
This, the kind of thing that drives us in our own efforts, underpinning all our endeavours, and inspiring our OMs.
The conviction that a desire to help others is a fundamental part of being human.
The belief that we’re all in this together, that we need to pull together, that life is better connected.
Here in Saunderstown, when we think about the lives they’ve touched, the people they’ve inspired and the difference they’ve made, our admiration for Kirk and Cindy could not be greater.
The Sinclairs, due to finish their 12-month hike in May, have gone to great lengths to do their bit.
For us it need not be quite so gruelling.
Let’s think about the things we can do to make a difference, to help others, to touch and improve lives.
The small things.
The seeds of kindness.
To quote Kirk one last time, ‘We tend to live up or down to our expectations of ourselves. It’s time to believe in ourselves. It’s time to believe in humanity’.
That message, one that is sure to inspire us for some time to come.
Here in Saunderstown, we’d like to thank Kirk and Cindy, and wish them well for the remainder of their journey.
Let’s be kind to each other.