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.”