Win would bring $40,000 for Community Ministries
CHARLES TOWN – Armand Young, known for his series of “human kindness walks,” is hoping to win the Eagle Rare Life Award and then give the $40,000 prize to Jefferson County Community Ministries, the charity that provides food staples and other help for local people in need.
“They do so much for the people in this community,” said Young, a longtime volunteer with the organization. “I see that money helping a lot of people in this town. It could feed tons of kids … and there are a lot of hungry kids in this town.”
The award is made each year by a Kentucky bourbon company. Anyone may cast a vote at eaglerarelife.com.
More than five years ago, Young began his human kindness walk in Los Angeles. He slowly made his way on foot to New York City. Along the way, he performed acts of kindness, usually finding food, shelter and clothing for homeless people.
He also carried a large bamboo pole covered with a variety of flags. He asks people he meets to sign the pole and to promise to complete one act of kindness in the next 24 hours. So far, Young said, he’s acquired some 539,000 signatures.
Young helps those in need whenever he can. He has helped two homeless families in the county find homes and helped a cancer victim living alone in a remote area of the Blue Ridge by installing a working water heater and refrigerator, weatherproofing her home and replenishing her dwindling food stocks.
He works to find individuals, landlords and businesses willing to help people in difficult situations.
He hopes to complete a walk back to Los Angeles. “In my heart I know this is my calling. I have to finish my walk from here, even if it is in spurts,” he says.
But, having married and bought a house in the area, he says he worries about the consequences of setting out again. “I am having trouble figuring out how to pay for my house while I am on my walk,” he says.
Young has fallen on hard times himself, having recently lost his job. “Right now, I’m not very far from the people I try to help. But I know I have to keep going.”
He has continued to make shorter walks periodically, including a recently trek from Gettysburg, Pa., back to Charles Town in May.
Before heading out to California again, Young will have his pole at Community Ministries downtown for the next two weeks. He invites residents to come and sign it and vow to complete an act of kindness during the next day. He asks that residents bring canned food items to help stock the organization’s food bank.