"The elders talk about 'life is a treasure, cherish life, hang on to life, life serves life.' Therefore life is enormous, but nothing is closer than death. So it is important to look after our world so that the beneficiaries can benefit for seven generations. ”
Day 92 - Friday, September 23, 1995 - The walk moved steadily on, covering about 25 miles, reaching close to Memphis. The weather held bright and sunny through the day, and cool at night. All the walkers are healthy, although there is a minor plague of blisters.
At home I packed for my journey to meet the walk in Memphis, and bedded down my New Hampshire garden against frost. John Heyman called to talk about the trip, and to review my assignment.
As walk coordinator, and as a member of the Sunbow 5 Foundation's board of directors, I have been delegated to ask Tom some questions about his behavior over the first months of the walk, and also to inquire about his use of the money provided to the walk.
John, the treasurer for our board, informed me that we have about $6,500 in the bank. He said that at our current rate of expenditure, that amount of money can support the walk into about mid-December. By then the Sunbow foundation needs to either raise more financial support for the walk, or the walk must find a way to get by with a lot less money for gas, food, winter shelter, and other necessities.
Because our board is legally responsible for keeping records, John asked me to be sure all finances are accounted for, including: T-shirt sales, ATM withdrawals, and general contributions to the walk's pot by supporters along the road.
John asked me to meet with Tom to express the board's concerns, and to remind him that the Sunbow 5 Foundation exists for one purpose only: to support the walk. It is awkward that Tom and his wife Naoko are also on the board, two of the remaining four members now that Gail Nalls has resigned because she could get no answers to these questions.
John and I discussed the message he wanted to convey to Tom: you and the walk have a right to all the money in the bank, that's what it's for; however, if we keep on spending at the same rate, our Sunbow Foundation will very soon be broke. The board is required to document how the money was spent. Can Tom give us any accounting of it whatsoever?
Over the last two months many of the walkers have mentioned to me and to John that they had not seen the benefit of any foundation money. They didn't, in fact, even know that our foundation was sending financial support. They told us that for all they knew foundation money might be benefiting the walk, but that they have had no direct experience or knowledge of it.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 93 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire