The Rev. Trey Hancock, here pictured with his wife, Becky, began a walk Sept. 5 that will take him from Dearborn to Mackinac City, in an effort to raise money to fund a renovation project for his church, Dearborn Assembly of God.
By DANIEL HERATY
DEARBORN – A pastor at the Dearborn Assembly of God church has found a unique way to raise money for repairs to the building –walking 300 miles from Dearborn to Mackinac City.
On Sept. 5, The Rev. Trey Hancock began the journey he dubbed “Trey’s Trek,” that will take him through the heart of Michigan to raise $30,000 for repairs to the church. He said when the congregation moved into its new building at 6700 Chase Rd. in 2010, it needed to be remodeled.
“We gutted the thing,” he said. “Everything was taken out and removed. So everything is new except for the floor, walls and ceiling.” Looking for a way to offset a portion of the renovation’s cost, he brainstormed fundraising ideas,” he said. “I thought of doing a walk and get(ting) sponsorships.”
He said the genesis for the walk came in spring. He said he has been looking to raise money for the project since 2009.
“(I was thinking,) I just do not want to go into debt with the project,” Hancock said. “So I’m thinking about what can I do personally to help encourage people to come to the church and help support and keep this thing going. I thought, ‘Just walk’. If I’m gonna walk, what’s gonna be the most effective way to get people’s artttention, and the furthest to walk in Michigan is to Mackinac City.”
Before starting the walk, Hancock already had an image in his mind of how he wanted to end it.
“I told my friends that I’m gonna walk right under the bridge and I’m gonna put my feet in the water,” he said.
He said as of Sept. 2, he was halfway to his goal, with about $15,000 already raised through individual donations from friends, but sponsorships from local businesses remans a possibility. He said his plan is to reach the Mackinac Bridge by Sept. 25. The three-week journey will take him through locations such as Northville, Grand Blanc, Saginaw and Cheyboygan.
He said endurance has been the hardest part of the walk, but he was also afraid of walking into incoming traffic.
“You’re walking and cars are passing by at 60, 70 miles an hour,” he said. “But people have been cordial to this point.”
The early September rain hasn’t helped either, he said.
“(Sept. 7) we stopped in Highland and it poured for four solid hours,” he said. “My friend who was walking with me didn’t bring anything with him but a hat and a raincoat. But we made it.”
He said friends who knew he would be coming offered their houses and one of his friends offered to put him up in a hotel. When he isn’t walking, he takes the time to relax and recharge.
“When not walking, I’m laying out with my feet against the wall,” he said. “Most of the day is walking and relaxing the rest of the time. On Sundays I’m not walking at all, I’m preaching at a chruch.”
He said the walk has allowed him some time to reflect and appreciate seeing the world from a different point of view.
“You see things when you walk that you dont see when you ride in a car,” he said. “Those things are very encouragng to me. That’s the Lord speaking to me.”
He said he began preparing in June with some practice walks, starting at a few miles a day, then gradually increased his mileage as time went on.
“When I got to 10 miles, I thought ‘I’m really doing this,’” he said. “One day I walked 18 miles and drank five liters of water. I’ve walked about 300 miles just to see if I could do it.”
Hancock started a blog, treyhancock.blogspot.com, that allows anyone who is interested in keeping up with his trek to follow his updates as he makes his way through the state.
He said his decision to walk to raise the funds didn’t come without some second-guessing. “I really wrestled with it,” he said. “At first I thought, ‘You’re nuts.’ But I went on Google Maps and thought it would take me about 20 days. I just told myself, ‘You’re going to make this work.’” He said his wife, Becky, talked him out of doing it earlier due to the summer heat.
He said members of his congregation looked with expressions Hancock likens to a “deer in the headlights.” He said that he hoped to encourage people to keep a positive mindset when times get tough.
“I’m hoping this walk will help encourage people not to give up on things in their lives,” he said. “Times are tough. You pull through.”
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected].)