When Jimmy Wayne began his Meet Me Halfway walk to raise awareness for homeless teens on Jan. 1, he had no idea that he’d still be putting mileage under his feet in the desert during the peak heat of summer.
But that’s exactly where he finds himself with the walk temporarily halted in Pie Town, N.M., about 60 miles east of the Arizona border. And it also means he’s slowing even more — and not just from heat. His managers assumed Jimmy would be done with the walk by the time the calendar reached June, so they booked some concerts for him, and that requires him to complete the walk in small chunks as he meets his obligations in other parts of the country. This weekend, for example, he was booked in Kansas City; Auburn Hills, Mich.; and Richland Center, Wis. The logistics involve a big, expensive production.
“It’s stopping in the middle of the desert, being picked up, being driven two or three hours to the airport, dropped off, do the show, come back, drive back and be dropped off in that spot,” Jimmy says. “It is a lot of work, and it’s a lot of money. Damn, man. This walk has cost so much money, and I’m very thankful that I’ve had sponsors who have helped me out along the way, and donations here and there, but there’s no way I could’ve covered this walk by myself. There’s no way.”
Not that he’s complaining. Jimmy’s brought a lot of attention to the cause and gotten attention from a few celebrities, too, including Tom Cruise and Paris Hilton. In addition, he’s seen a lot of America. He’s been through the desert, through national parks and through some pretty bad neighborhoods. He’s met some really nice people, some kooks and even the postmaster for a town where the population is only five.
Jimmy hopes now to reach Phoenix, his final destination, around July 31 or Aug. 1. It’s guaranteed to be a big moment, and once it’s all over, he’ll have quite a few stories to tell. Some of those tales will end up in songs. And some of them will help Jimmy continue to get help for teens who age out of the foster-care system with no place to go.
“I get a little flak from some people — ‘well, you’re doin’ this so you can talk about it,’” he says. “Duh! Yeah! That’s exactly why I’m doin’ it, man. I wanna talk about it. It’s called raisin’ awareness. You can’t not talk about it.”