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Vow to walk brings Pa. 'pilgrim' to town

May 13, 2006|BY TIFFANY ARNOLD

Many might have noticed a long-bearded man in a hand-stitched robe made of denim patches and sandals made of tires walking the streets of Hagerstown with a wooden staff that had a crucifix tied to the tip.

That was George Walter, a man who calls himself God's "pilgrim," and said that he is walking to Washington D.C., from his hometown of Glenshaw, Pa., which is west of Pittsburgh.

Walter's circuitous route brought him Friday to Hagerstown. He said he hopes to arrive in Washington D.C., by May 27, when he will visit the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Walter said he eventually will make his way back to Glenshaw, stopping in several other cities and states along the way. According to his estimates, the entire trip is around 350 miles.

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Walter, who said he was 69, said he has traveled to 41 countries on foot.

"This is my calling," Walter said. "I promised the Lord that I will walk until he comes back again, or until he takes me to heaven, whichever comes first."

Walter said he doesn't plan to stay in Hagerstown very long.

"I'm on my way out," Walter said, adding that he's heading to Thurmont, Md.

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