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20th Year for John Bliven Memorial Walk/Run

Courtesy of the Bliven family
John Bliven

Macomb will resume its summer festival Heritage Days after last year's event was canceled due to the pandemic. As part of the weekend celebration, the John Bliven Memorial Walk/Run will also resume after a year off.

“It’s very special to have the John Bliven Memorial Walk/Run,” said Bliven’s daughter, Linda Andrews.

“I think every year that it happens is one more year that we can bring his name to the community and show the people how much he was respected.”

Organizers said registration this year has been rather slow so far. You can register through Samaritan Well’s website and Facebook page. You can also sign up here.

Bliven’s widow, Rachel Bliven, said her husband started the local Crime Stoppers program, which then founded the walk/run after his death in 1999.

“He loved his job. He was very dedicated to it,” she said. “He was there (at the sheriff’s office) for 49-and-a-half years. He was sheriff for eight terms, or 32 years. He was the longest serving sheriff in the state and the third in the nation.”

He retired in 1994.

The money raised during the walk/run will benefit Samaritan Well and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Samaritan Well volunteer Ellie Zoerink called the organization a “bare bones” agency primarily supported by the walk/run and churches in the community.

“What our organization does is support women and men and their children that come to us that have a status of homelessness. We try to offer them support services,” she said.

Zoerink said Samaritan Well operates two homes. Its case managers work with the homeless on education and employment goals to help them eventually move into permanent housing.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.