A Merritt RCMP officer is one of five men walking from Vancouver to Toronto in an effort to raise money for victims of crime.
Const. Mark MacDonnell stopped at Merritt Secondary on Thursday as part of the 4,600-kilometre Freedom Walk Journey for Justice over the next two months. They hope to raise $500,000 for the Canadian Crime Victims Foundation.
“He’s taking a little time off for a wander,” says Sgt. Norm Flemming, the acting head of the Merritt RCMP detachment.
Organized by the Five with D.R.I.V.E. Foundation, the walk started out in Vancouver’s Stanley Park on Sunday morning, just one event marking National Victims of Crime Awareness Week.
Between now and June 23, the team will walk through both large cities and smaller communities, traveling an average of 60 kilometres by foot each day until they reach Toronto.
MacDonnell, who grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, was a founding member of the Five with D.R.I.V.E. Foundation when it was established in 2004.
Flemming stresses that the RCMP is not officially sponsoring the walk but adds that the detachment supports MacDonnell’s efforts. The Calgary Police Service is a major sponsor for the walk and two of the team members are Calgary officers.
The past walks, in 2004 and 2007, covered 1,900 and 2,500 kilometres, respectively.
While in Merritt, the team shared with students the purpose of the walk, calling attention to the challenges victims of crime face.