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FRANKFORT — Just before noon Friday, underneath a sweltering sun, 15-year-old Joshua Kimble climbed the steps to the Capitol building, ending a 96-mile, eight-day journey of a lot of sweat, several blisters, some dancing and a few tears.
Joshua, along with his father, T. James Kimble, his brother, Micah, and supporter, Cole Weed, completed what was dubbed Joshua’s Dream Walk. Joshua’s mother, Liz, drove behind her family as they travelled an average of about 12 miles each day since leaving Radcliff.
“It feels good,” said Joshua, who has Down syndrome.
The goal was to raise awareness about those with special needs and raise money for a planned facility to be called Joshua’s House, to serve families confronted with similar challenges.
Joined on the final day by state Sen. Dennis Parrett, Joshua and the others travelled slightly more than eight miles Friday to the destination, sometimes putting a little boogie into the mix.
“I danced,” Joshua said, smiling.
Using his iPhone, Micah, 14, played disc jockey, providing music, including Toby Mac hits, for his brother, who began incorporating dance in the last leg of the walk.
At one point, Joshua danced with the senator to “Footloose.”
As they approached the Capitol, Joshua excitedly began to ascend the stairs, with raised arms, like the title character in “Rocky.” Missed footing caused him to bang his knee and elicited a few tears.
“You’re OK,” his father said, examining the knee. “You’re a bull rider, Joshua.”
The bull riding reference, T. James later explained, came from the fact his son rode a mechanical bull on a couple of occasions.
“I want Zach,” Joshua cried, referring to Zach Bonner, the inspiration for Joshua’s Dream Walk. Bonner was supposed to be in the area but couldn’t attend the conclusion of the walk.
Bonner was the subject of the movie “Little Red Wagon,” which told the story of how, at age 8, he decided to help the homeless left in the wake of Hurricane Charley. The movie follows Bonner as he sets out to help by walking from his house in Tampa, Fla., to the White House.
Despite the minor mishap, which did not result in any spilled blood, no major problems occurred on Joshua’s Dream Walk.
“Actually, the walk was almost error-free,” Liz said. “It went so smooth.”
While some drivers encountering the walkers on the highway were not courteous, others were.
“We had about seven people stop us along the way and give us donations,” Liz said.
Once they reached the Capitol, the Radcliff group was joined by state Rep. Tim Moore. Parrett and Moore presented citations to Joshua recognizing his efforts.
T. James reciprocated by presenting copies of “The Crippled Lamb,” an inspirational book that has special meaning for the Kimbles.
“We’re exhausted,” T. James said later, as they cooled off inside the Capitol building.
Joshua’s Dream Walk, he said, elicited so much emotion, especially during days two and three, which he said was pretty hard.
“There was a part of me that wanted to quit,” he said. “I had to keep reminding myself this isn’t about us.”
Focusing on how his family could help families with special needs got him through those days, he said.
While the stifling heat, which reached the 90s with heat indices in the 100s, made conditions tough to bear, T. James said they each drank six to eight bottles of water a day. They also doused Joshua’s hat with water often to keep him cool.
Blisters were not uncommon either, T. James said.
“I was the only one who didn’t get blisters,” Micah said, smiling.
“I wish I could give him mine,” T. James joked.
As they cooled off, Joshua began jumping up and down.
“It’s Zach! It’s Zach,” he said, clutching his phone.
Joshua spoke with his inspiration, grinning from ear to ear.
Rubbing his feet shortly after the walk, Cole Weed said he was impressed with Joshua completing the walk.
“He just made it,” Weed said.
Parrett said he was glad his schedule allowed him to join the walk on the final day. He described the family as dedicated.
“You have to admire that,” he said.
Similarly, Moore commended the family. He also expressed admiration of Joshua’s determination.
“There are a lot of people who talk the talk, but Joshua walked the walk,” Moore said.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or email@example.com.