Greenwood guy raises money traveling the Mississippi River | News

God has watched above Bob Koch’s each and every step.

When he nearly planted a foot far too close to a rattlesnake through his 2,200-mile hike by means of the Appalachian Path, he felt it. He felt God with him when a ruptured ulcer took him away from his monthslong journey through the mountains, and when medical doctors assisted him get well and he returned to end the trek.

He felt it even though standing in an open field atop a bald mountain in the course of that 2015 adventure, wherever his horizon-spanning perspective of the countryside down below motivated him.

“To me, this is just one of the God moments,” he stated. “I just felt like, gah, why don’t I do anything? This is all me in this article on this excursion. Why really do not I do something that implies a thing?”

In the midst of his adventure, he identified as Bo Bowman back again house in Greenwood. Bowman was a pilot for Mercy Flight, which gives aerial clinical transport, and Koch required to commence a fundraiser the place individuals pledged cash for every mile he traveled along the Appalachian Path, to donate to Mercy Flight.

By the close of Koch’s journey, they had lifted $8,000 in donations.

Now, at 69 many years old, Koch strategies to paddle from St. Louis to New Orleans along the Mississippi River, and he’s increasing cash for The Boys & Ladies Club of the Lakelands Location at the Starz24 Teen Middle.

“Bob and I are very superior mates. Probably very best pals, but I will not talk for him,” Bowman stated. “He’s needed to do this trip down the Mississippi a prolonged, lengthy time. I wasn’t astonished when he mentioned we’ve got to find a charity to do this for.”

It was a close final decision amongst the Boys & Girls Club and the Pathway Household, Koch claimed. He values how both organizations operate to construct a far better lifetime for the people they provide, by helping them get to for better options.

“I appear at my vocation and the men and women I have met, the types who have been successful experienced a apparent vision of what they preferred to be and people today who confirmed them how to do that,” Koch claimed. “The Boys and Women Club does that. To me, which is an even a lot more critical matter than the complete vacation.”

Sabrina Miller, executive director of the local Boys and Women Club, stated she was thrilled by Koch’s commitment, and by the discovering options his excursion provides. With about 50 small children enrolled in the just after-university system and learners obtaining a lot more cozy with the myriad of activities and sources obtainable at the teenager centre on East Cambridge Avenue, she mentioned she hopes to use progress reviews from Koch’s trip to educate students about geography and heritage.

“I believed it was a truly selfless act. I was actually stunned when I discovered out he was taking into consideration a little something like this,” she explained. “It will be an adventure as we abide by him, so we’ll discover plenty of exciting means to integrate that into classes.”

Bowman is organizing the fundraiser and coordinating donations for Koch. To come across out how to donate, make contact with Bowman at 864-992-8998, or by e-mail at [email protected] To obtain out how to get concerned with the Boys and Women Club, simply call Miller at 803-609-1427, or e mail her at [email protected]

Getting ready for adventureThe start off of Koch’s excursion might be one of the most complicated elements.

Koch will be paddling the whole length of the Mississippi River in a canoe, using a kayak paddle for a bit a lot more handle and finesse. The St. Louis harbor he’ll be casting off in will share the waterway with tugboats and barges the measurement of soccer fields.

In looking into the bay, Koch has read through that some of these boats have wakes that can create 6- to 8-foot waves. The shots and videos he’s seen of the harbor, having said that, appear less tumultuous than that.

Koch needs to practice capsizing. Behind his lakeside household in Greenwood, he reported he’ll be having his canoe out and deliberately flipping it, so he can apply recovering and crawling back again into his boat. His materials will be packed and loaded onto the canoe, tied to it with rope so he doesn’t have to lookup to recuperate them if the canoe flips.

“If you are capsized in a canoe out there in the bay, you’re not likely to be ready to swim,” he claimed. “You simply cannot have your canoe upside-down for an hour.”

There are 500 miles of the Mississippi that are uninhabited, he browse. He’s been looking at guides on paddling the river that element about 1,000 locations together the river to continue to keep an eye out for. His investigate will enable him navigate and system stops and campsites.

“The Mississippi is a ton like a lake, apart from it is going faster. At places, it is 4 miles huge, so you simply cannot even see the other facet,” he mentioned. “They say all you see is johnboats and barges coming up the river.”

On a river, every thing improvements. Landmarks his book noted may possibly be eroded, flooded or if not weakened based mostly on the river’s move, boat visitors or human intervention. Koch has to prepare ahead, but continue to be adaptable in circumstance items go awry.

And factors can go improper. Koch said he’s imagined about what might take place if he’s bitten by a rattlesnake or water moccasin whilst he’s in the wilderness.

“My sister wrote me a note and explained ‘You’re outrageous,’” Koch said. “I really do not know, you do matters that are adventurous, you adore mother nature. You system in advance to make matters safer. There are items that can transpire to you on the river, but I never target on that.”

He overcame around-misses with snakes on the Appalachian Path and a professional medical unexpected emergency where he had to hike to an ambulance. These are times of clarity and grace, he mentioned.

“The points that come about to you, you know God is with you on the path,” he stated. “When you’re out in the center of nowhere, you consider a large amount. You in fact converse to God — how frequently do men and women basically have a dialogue with God? I genuinely really feel like he’s been with me in all the things I have accomplished.”

Koch desires to push up to St. Louis on May perhaps 1 with his two sons, then disembark the up coming day, with his sons driving the automobile residence for him. He expects it to take about 30 days to reach New Orleans.

In the meantime, he reported the vacation would not be attainable without the adore and help from his really understanding wife, Becky. Currently being apart is difficult, but he said she understands his require for experience these journeys are bucket-listing products for him. When he hiked the Appalachian Path, he experienced a couple of “zero days,” exactly where he designed no development. Bowman flew in from Greenwood to where ever Koch was, bringing his wife and Becky together so the two couples could have supper jointly.

“She is aware of it’s pretty vital to me,” Koch explained. “I’m a quite aim-oriented man or woman, and it is anything I have talked about for a very long time.

Call personnel author Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or observe on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.