Man walks the world for diabetes
“Love yourself. Go for a walk.” Erik Bendl’s blog
MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
Erik Bendl and his dog Nice stopped in Versailles as they trek across country for diabetes awareness.
Erik Bendl is walking the world to raise awareness for diabetes. The Louisville, Ky., resident was in Ripley County the last few days, and the Osgood Journal caught up with him while parked at the Family Dollar plaza on S. Adams Street Monday.
While a man walking the county roads would not draw much attention, Bendl does because of what comes with him: a huge inflatable “world” painted ball he rolls along, plus, his 7-year-old Black Mouth Cur called Nice. The canvas ball was something school and camp kids used to play with decades ago, and was about to go in the trash when a friend salvaged it for him. It’s become a gimmick, and attention getter, all with the idea to remind people to take care of their body.
Bendl has walked 6,000 miles in 39 states in the past six years. He explains “the cruel disease” of diabetes runs in his family. His mom, a former state representative in Kentucky, passed away from diabetes at age 54. His uncle has diabetes, a brother in law also had it and passed away. His uncle though just turned 86 on Aug. 10 and Bendl is walking toward him to Pittsburgh, PA. “My purpose is to remind people to walk for themselves, and not just for diabetes, but to take care of themselves.”
This latest journey started about10 days ago from Louisville. He doesn’t know how long it will take to get there, but says it doesn’t matter if it’s weeks or months, as long as he’s able, he’ll walk. Bendl, 52, does not have diabetes --“not yet”-- he says, and believes the exercise will help thwart off the disease that often tends to be inherited. Diet helps too, but he says it’s hard on the road to find healthy foods. What’s not hard to find is kind-hearted people. “Just between the few blocks from the Dairy Queen to here, I had seven people stop and give me bottled water.” One couple brought him a meal, another offered him a ride back to his van. “You bring the soup stone and the rest just happens,” he commented. He parks his purple van and will “leap frog” to it for sleep and rest.
Bendl averages about 10 miles a day, but did poorly Sunday when the heat got to him. He started to get chills from exhaustion. He prefers 30 to 60 degree weather. Nonetheless, he was planning to stop at the Versailles State Park Monday before heading toward Cincinnati. Sometimes he’ll hit 30 miles a day. He wears Keen shoes, and says they last about 700 miles before the tread is gone. A carpenter by trade, he had to quit full-time work due to back problems. “I couldn’t work, but I could walk!” he said. His dog recovered from double knee surgery recently, but may need more rest than Bendl these days.
He established a non-profit status, and any donations go to the American Diabetes Association. Bendl has raised thousands of dollars, but he says it’s more about raising awareness. One woman notified him through his daily blog that she was so inspired by his “pushing the world” and his dog, that she decided she could walk and take better care of herself. Sandi Louden was dropping her child off at preschool and noticed his world ball. She has a 14 year old with diabetes and has a support group for juveniles with it. (Contact her at 654-7046 for meeting information.)
Knowing he can make a difference is what keeps him putting one foot in front of the other. You can keep up with Bendl online at www.worldguy.org.
Burn ban case settled in Ripley Co. court
On Thursday, August 8, David L. Swinney, 54, 1971 W CR 150 N, Osgood, pleaded guilty to Disorderly Conduct, a class B misdemeanor. The Osgood farmer had been charged with multiple misdemeanors and a felony, in regard to a burn ban violation last summer.
According to the Disorderly Conduct charge, Swinney engaged in “tumultuous conduct,” which is conduct that results in, or is likely to result in, serious bodily injury to a person or substantial damage to property. The Disorderly Conduct was directed towards Osgood Fire Chief Steve Linville, Osgood Marshal Eric Roush, Reserve Osgood Marshal Randall Benjamin and sheriff’s office Sgt. Corky Houseworth.
The charges stemmed from an incident on August 31, 2012. On that date the Osgood Fire Department, the Osgood Police Department, and the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office responded to Swinney’s property due to a large barn fire occurring in a burn ban area. The barn had been damaged by a tornado in March, and Swinney was taking down the remains of the barn. When officers arrived and reminded Swinney of the burn ban, he refused to stop burning, and continued operating a bulldozer.
On Wednesday morning a jury was selected to hear the case. After jury selection, opening statements were given by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ryan King and one of Swinney’s attorneys, Patrick McGrath of Madison. The next morning Swinney pleaded guilty to Disorderly Conduct. Judge James B. Morris sentenced Swinney to six months of probation and required that he undergo an anger management assessment and any treatment recommended.
King was satisfied with the outcome. “This result shows that the Osgood Volunteer Fire Chief, Osgood Town Marshal and the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office were appropriately performing their duties.” King added, “The result is fair and just because Mr. Swinney has no criminal history and is, and has been, a productive member of the community for many years. This result is a good one for Mr. Swinney, the public servants, and the community.
Ripley Publishing Co.
115 S. Washington Street, P.O. Box 158
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