How many Colbians does it take to walk across the country?
Thirty-five plus, say Nick Tucker ’10 and Sam Rouleau ’10, former Colby roommates who tapped the Colby community as they walked coast to coast, a 3,000-mile trek that ended in Los Angeles in March.
They crossed the country in seven months, stopping along the way to work to “inspire change and do good.” Their community service efforts, and the monumental achievement of walking from Maine to California, were inspiring to many. But Tucker and Rouleau say they also were inspired by the support they received from Colby alumni and parents.
The Colby theme emerged the second night of the trip, after a night in a motel in Newburyport, Mass. “I’d ask Sam, ‘What town are we going to make it to tomorrow?’” Tucker said. “I’d shoot off some e-mails and cross my fingers.”
The first e-mails resulted in an invitation to stay the night at the home of Ross Moldoff ’79 in Salem, N.H. The pair had dinner with the Moldoff family and chatted about economics and professors and the trip. “They were very impressive,” Moldoff recalled. “It was for me a connection back to the College.”
And for Tucker and Rouleau it was an eye opener.
“For all intents and purposes we were complete strangers,” Tucker said. “For them to welcome us to into their home, we were just very grateful and surprised.” Added Rouleau: “It’s a fascinating phenomenon.”
Their hosts, from New Hampshire to Los Angeles, included alumni from as far back as the Class of 1963 and current Colby parents. The hikers met families, family friends, and were connected to community service projects. The young children of one alumna, Katherine Rynearson Tagtmeier ’92, donated their allowance to Tucker and Rouleau’s mission. The pair used the money to buy socks for the homeless in L.A.’s Skid Row.
“Now I have a stronger idea of the feeling of family and community that the Colby alumni network can bring,” Tucker said.
Can and does. And I have to say that 35 years after my own graduation, a dozen years since becoming editor of Colby, I’m still amazed at the strength of the bond among Colbians. What is it about this place?
If stories like this are any indication, I guess you know.
Gerry Boyle ’78, P’06