Men and boys encouraged to step up and Walk a Mile In Her Shoes
What: Walk a Mile In Her Shoes
When: 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25
Where: City Park
Cost: $25 per high-heeled walker
John Burdick, assistant program director at KPCW, remembers the first time he participated in Peace House’s Walk a Mile In Her Shoes in 2012, an annual event where men in women’s shoes strut through the Park Silly Sunday Market to raise awareness and funds to help end domestic violence.
Burdick, then the manager of Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery, was pressed for time.
“I booked it because I had to get back to run the lunch shift,” he said with a laugh. “I was dressed in full drag, and walked as fast as I could. So when I got back to the restaurant with my feather boa, everyone was like, ‘What are you doing?’”
Since then, Burdick hasn’t missed a walk, and he plans to join other high-heeled men when they embark on the eighth annual Walk a Mile In Her Shoes event on Sunday, Aug. 25.
Peace House is an anti-domestic violence nonprofit that serves Summit and Wasatch counties with a shelter and education services.
Walkers can also register on the day of the event at City Park, beginning at 11:30 a.m., said Sally Tauber, Peace House director of development and marketing.
This year’s walk will start later than in past years at 12:30 p.m. to accommodate churchgoers, according to Tauber.
When participants register, they will be directed to a link that will allow them to download a sponsor sheet, Tauber said.
“Sponsor sheets and any money participants have collected can be turned in the day of the walk, and the money will go directly back to Peace House,” she said.
In 2018, Peace House took more than 700 calls and provided shelter to 112 adults and children for more than 3,000 total nights of safety, according to Tauber. It also put on 561 community awareness events.
On Sunday, walkers will start at City Park and head east on Heber Avenue through Park Silly Sunday Market, before continuing to City Park via the Poison Creek Trail.
The event features several speakers as Casey Baird from KBER 101 radio and Michael Guymon of the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office are set to address the participants before the walk, while Peace House executive director Kendra Wyckoff will give a speech before the group heads back to City Park.
At City Park, Peace House will give out prizes to the teams who raise the most money, have the highest heels and that are the “rowdiest.” Individual awards will also be given to those with the best struts, signs and costumes.
Burdick said that when he first walked, he won the fastest person in his age group.
“I didn’t have time to stick around for the prizes because I had to get to the restaurant,” he said with a laugh. “But it was fun.”
Last year, Dennis Johns, owner of Newstar General Contractors, made his Walk a Mile debut as part of two teams: That of his company, and another called the Unknown Beardsmen. –.
The Unknown Beardsmen is a “bearded people” organization that participates in various charity events, John said.
“We do more events that are geared towards veterans, because we have a couple of vets in our group,” he said. “We also do events that raise money and awareness for cancer, because I’m a stage-four cancer survivor.”
Newstar is the firm building Peace House’s new campus that is scheduled to open next month.
“Peace House is an organization that is dear to my heart,” he said. “So many people have gone through domestic violence, and that just touches my heart.”
Last year, John wore women’s purple Nike shoes.
“I didn’t get into the big heels,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m 54, and I don’t think it would have been a good thing for people to see a man my age in walking high heels. I did, however, get a picture of me in some red ones. But that was as far as it went.”
For both Burdick and Johns, the walk is personal.
“My father was an abusive alcoholic, and thank God he was able to get treatment and overcome and resolve that issue,” Burdick said. “But I do remember moving out of the house for a while with my mom and sister. I also remember getting my dad into treatment and then restarting things as a family. And this is why I walk.”
Johns said he walks because of the people he has met while working on the Peace House campus.
“I’ve met and made some dear friends,” he said. “And I always like to do stuff like this and give back to the community.”
Men and boys can register for the walk by visiting http://peacehouse.org/event/walk-a-mile-in-her-shoes-2019.
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