Stepping up to help out

An Okanagan College English professor will be stepping out of the classroom and stepping up to help a student.

Tim Walters, an English professor at the Salmon Arm campus and president of the OCFA (the Okanagan College Faculty Association) will be walking 160 kilometres in an effort to raise money for local student Gary Baker who suffered a massive brain aneurism early in August.

Walters plans to walk between the Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and Salmon Arm campuses – a distance of 160 kilometres.

He will be setting out Tuesday Aug. 30 from the Penticton campus and plans to arrive at the Salmon Arm campus on Sept. 1.

“I’ve known Gary for several years, and I was keen to do something to try to help him and his family,” said Walters.

Baker, a father of four, was a student at Okanagan College last year, having returned to school to pursue a career in engineering after years of working as a timber framer.

On Aug. 1, he suffered a severe brain aneurysm while playing soccer and, after undergoing two surgeries, is currently recovering in Vancouver – a process that may take months or even years.

“Gary was a very involved, well-liked member of our close-knit college community,” said Walters.

“His family is facing an unimaginably awful situation just now; one that is exacerbated by having to worry about repaying student loans and covering the costs associated with staying at, and travelling to and from, the Coast.”

An avid hiker, Walters will average a whopping 55 kilometres per day during his fundraising walk, and will be posting photographs of his progress on a Facebook page so sponsors can follow along the way.

“My goal is to raise $3,200 or more, which works out to $20 for each kilometre that I walk. Breaking it up by kilometre will be a great motivator for me to keep going even when it feels like a slog.”

Sponsors wishing to donate can do so at the GoFundMe page.

Walters will be wearing an orange OCFA T-shirt and people are encouraged to honk and wave as a show of support.

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