By Ed Runyan
Arthur Dunn, 75, of Newton Falls took his first long walk in April 2009, a short time after his wife, Doris, died of cancer, “to clear my mind.”
“I was devastated,” he said.
He took a bus to Cincinnati and then walked back — 335 miles in 21 days — mostly along bike trails and back roads, stopping in Petersburg in Columbiana County, where his two sons picked him up and took him home.
He found the trip therapeutic, but he discovered that it also meant something to other people — such as the fourth grade class at Newton Falls Intermediate School.
Through a young relative of Dunn’s, the class learned about his trip, and teacher Rob Bowman decided it would be educational if the class kept tabs on Dunn as he walked.
Dunn also found that people along his path found his story uplifting, which gave him further motivation.
“It’s just my way of giving back, anything to brighten up someone’s day. They just shake their head and say, ‘I wish I could do that,’ and I say, ‘You can. It may not be walking, but there’s something you can do.’”
A couple years after his first walk, Dunn, who retired from a Warren steel maker 17 years ago, committed to taking another one.
“The Lord told me to take a walk in honor of the people who died in 9/11,” he said of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
He set out for Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed, and continued on to Washington, D.C. — 465 miles in 22 days. His brother drove him to a location near the Pentagon, another target of the 9/11 terrorists, and he spent a week touring the capital.
It was on that trip that Dunn first deployed a push cart holding a tent to sleep in, a propane stove to cook with and other items.
And this spring, he set out on his third trip — a 1,150-mile 55-day trek that started in Newton Falls, headed east to Hubbard, then south along the Ohio River and continuing as close to the border as possible to Cincinnati, then north along the Indiana border to the northwest corner, east to the Northeast corner and back to Hubbard.
He called that his Four Corners of Ohio trip — something he says he doesn’t believe anyone has ever done before.
The Four Corners trip was educational for Bowman’s class because each day when Dunn would call, the students would plot his location on a map and learn something about the town he was visiting that day.
On Wednesday, the Trumbull County commissioners honored Dunn with a resolution for his “couragous walk through life.”
Dunn says he’s been a jogger for 35 years, logging four to five miles per day about five days per week.