Idaho resident Phil Dawson, who is making a 7,500-mile trip across the U.S., hit a roadblock July 24 when one of his horses was injured. Although the injury sets his trip back, Dawson said the assistance of people like Turner DuPont and Sandra Gardner, who are Moffat County residents, will help him get back on the road.

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Idaho resident Phil Dawson, who is making a 7,500-mile trip across the U.S., hit a roadblock July 24 when one of his horses was injured. Although the injury sets his trip back, Dawson said the assistance of people like Turner DuPont and Sandra Gardner, who are Moffat County residents, will help him get back on the road.

Idaho man’s journey through Craig suffers setback

Moffat County residents lend assistance in difficult time


When Idaho resident Phil Dawson, 59, set out on his 7,500-mile journey across the United States, he knew he would run into problems.

What he didn’t expect, was to be sidelined for a few weeks, Dawson said.

Dawson’s trip is designed to raise money for the non-profit organization he founded, America Fundraisers Inc., an organization that assists families with medical expenses for children who need organ transplants.

The trip brought him through Craig on Thursday.

While in Craig, Dawson ran in to local resident Turner DuPont.

Dupont invited Dawson to stay with him and his wife, Moffat County Judge Sandra Gardner, on their property in rural Moffat County.

“Dawson said he was looking for a place for groceries and my husband offered to let him stay with us for the night,” Gardner said.

After Dawson tied his horses up on DuPont and Gardner’s property, one of his horses tangled herself around a tree.

Dawson said when he went to check on the horse Saturday morning, the horse’s left leg was swollen.

“You kind of have to ease into these kind of things,” he said. “Turner had something I could use to bring the swelling down, and we just started giving the horse antibiotics.”

Although the swelling is starting to go down, Dawson said the horse isn’t ready for travel yet.

“I keep her in the stall and don’t allow her to run around,” he said. “She is walking OK, but she still needs time to recover.”

Dawson said DuPont and Gardner have provided a place to keep his horses, food for the horses and himself, a bedroom, and even washed his clothes.

Because of their help, Dawson said he will never forget them.

“People like Turner and Sandra are people that become life-time friends,” he said. “They do good things, and good things will happen to them in return.”

The horse may not be able to go for a few weeks, Dawson said, but he doesn’t want to put DuPont and Gardner out any more than he already has.

His next step is to try to get his horse into Maybell, and hopefully get some more antibiotics from a veterinarian there, he said.

“Nobody knows these type of things are going to happen,” Dawson said. “It’s nobody’s fault, but it is my problem and I don’t want to burden anyone more than I have to.”

This is Dawson’s third trip around the country. He completed cross-country journeys in 2008 and 2009.

He said veterinarians from all over the country have been more than helpful.

When one of his horses went down two years ago, Dawson said a veterinarian in Kentucky gave the horse X-rays on a portable machine and provided him with all the products he needed to care for the horse.

It was all given to him for free.

“Many vets from all over have volunteered and helped me out in the past few years,” he said. “It is truly a gift to have people like that around.”

Dawson said he was hoping to be in Texas before winter, but his latest setback may not allow that to happen.

Through the help of several companies, including Johnson Outdoors and Carhartt, Dawson said he is equipped to make it through cold weather.

Although he has hit some rough times, Dawson said he can keep his head up and stay motivated because of all the help he receives, and the help he is trying to provide to sick children.

“I find some good people doing something right (on) this trip,” he said. “I never know where I am going to find these people, like Turner and Sandra, but they show up when I need them the most.”


Anitadunnce 6 years, 9 months ago

Okay, as I post this comment, I know already that folks all over Moffat County are going to jump me with negative, nasty, personal attacks, because that is just how the residents of Moffat County are. Despite that, I am going to ask this question. Wouldn't this man from Idaho be able to donate one heck of a lot more money to his charitable cause(s) if he just headed on back to Idaho, got himself a job, and donated 25% - 50% of each paycheck to charity? Just a thought. Now, as surely as I know the sun will rise tomorrow, the attacks on me will start pouring in.

I am ready. Bring it on.


jharr58 6 years, 9 months ago

The way each of us helps others is a personal thing. And you are entitled to your own opinion. I feel that if the thing he does saves the life of one child his trip is fullfilled.


Rebelgirl 6 years, 9 months ago

Its not always about the money its about raising awareness. Yes we could all donate money automatically from our paychecks but where is the humanity in that. Without bonding with people face to face to show your dedication what is the point in running an organization. Politicians, organizations, especially non profit know the benefits to going out and meeting people. Would you rather donate money to an online organization or one that you recieve an piece of mail from, or from someone you meet in person, A person that is passionate about the reasons they are talking to you. It is no different than someone walking, biking, or just traveling across the country. There is no limit to what people can do to bring awareness to a problem. What would you do, just go to work and have automatic deductions from your paycheck? To me your job is more important than what you are donating money for. That and how much of the money is taxed when taken from your paycheck? Would the organization not benefit more from plain donations rather than a paycheck that is cut sometimes in half anyways due to taxes? If you are not willing to bring attention to a problem for which you are passionate about with something like this gentleman is doing then whats the point in trying to solve any problems?


Frank Estey 6 years, 9 months ago


You have a very good point. Some people just plain do not want to get a real job, commit to that routine drudgery of going to work every day and have some jerk will tell you what to do, after all, sweat makes your clothes smell bad.

What better excuse for not getting a job than committing your life to charity and doing good… who is going to question that?

We need more do gooders but who is going to do the work?


Anitadunnce 6 years, 9 months ago

GreyStone: You make some very good points. I also am amused that it is a judge who has been suckered in by this guy.... and didn't the article say that he was getting the judge to do his laundry? Hilarious. Hopefully the judge is reserving her hard-hitting legal analysis for the courtroom.

Maybe I am just suspicious of people and their motives until my trust has been gained, but it seems entirely selfish for this guy to put his horses through this kind of experience. If the guy enjoys being hungry for two days, because he did not have the foresight to bring any money on his several-month trip, good for him. Did the horses, however, sign on for hunger and thirst? I doubt it.


Anitadunnce 6 years, 9 months ago

Jharr58 and Rebelgirl: Please understand that I get the romance part of the story, but I just don't buy into it like you two apparently do.

I fully understand that this is a romantic story about Johnny Appleseed, just a boy and his horses. The guy is taking a several-month trip with no money. Do the math. Where do you think that some or all of the donated funds are going? I have to admit that the notion of carrying a photo of a dying child is a nice touch, but I have always been squeamish about exploiting those in dire straits.


Frank Estey 6 years, 9 months ago


Now you did it… the animal people will be on his case on behalf of the horses. Animal rights people pay an inordinate amount of time monitoring all the rodeos functions in the West, they might as well check on the poor horses walking the highways of America. Animal people, pay attention.


Anitadunnce 6 years, 9 months ago

GreyStone, you're too funny! After I post this, I must leave due to a filing deadline today, but posting here is a lot more fun.

If the animal rights people are monitoring this blog, I hope they will get right over to Jeffco. The Mexican Rodeo held last week near Golden netted some 12 injured calves due to the barbaric practice of the caballeros of reaching down from the horse, grabbing the calf's tail, and swinging the calf around until one or more of its legs is broken. The owner of the ranch where the injured and dying calves were secreted is one Miguel Garcia, who needed an English voice-over on Fox 31 News last Friday @ 9pm.

Jeffco Sheriff: Please get those animal cruelty charges filed. ICE: Check on the immigration status of Miguel Garcia and the other barbarians who swung calves around during the rodeo. Don't wait for Jeffco to figure it out.


Anitadunnce 6 years, 8 months ago

Has anyone recently seen this free spirit who lives off the largesse of others, and who relies entirely upon free veterinary care to keep his three horses healthy?

Is Johnny Appleseed still living with the Judge and her husband? I still think it is a hoot that she agreed to have him spend just one night, and now he needs to stay "several weeks". Isn't that how it always goes with these "temporary house guests"? LOLOL


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