During Ted Stone's first walk across America in 1996, he constantly reminded his listeners that the country's drug problem would not be solved in Washington but that it must be tackled in each community across the United States.
In an effort to set an example for his countrymen, he organized a group of local residents in his hometown Durham, N.C. — Citizens United To Fight Drug Abuse. Since last fall the organization has sponsored several events. After the first public meeting twenty young people and their leaders hiked five miles across the city to a cemetery where seventeen-year-old Stan Emory is buried. Emory, whose family was active in a local Baptist church, was murdered in a drug-related tragedy. The group joined hands in a circle around the teenager's grave, praying that what happened to Stan would not happen to others across America.
Stone served as chairman of the citizen's group which secured passage by the Durham County Commissioners of a proclamation designating December 24 and December 25 as Days of Sobriety. The document asserted that "the abuse of alcoholic beverages constitutes a major portion of this community's drug problem," and further stated "the young people of our community are searching daily for worthy role models."
After passage of the proclamation, Stone invited community leaders to meet with him at the courthouse and sign a pledge not to drink any alcoholic beverages on the two special days as examples to community young people, and urging the total community to embrace a sober, self-controlled lifestyle as the road to success and happiness.
Stone and the citizens' group placed posters all over town reminding residents of the event. They placed posters in front of each of the community's government-operated liquor stores, urging readers to show their concern for the local children by totally abstaining from alcohol during Christmastime.
"Many families have seen their Christmases ruined because of beer, wine, or liquor," Stone said.
A public session was set for late February to which individuals with drug-related problems and their families were invited. "We are determined to provide help that works for these hurting individuals," Stone promised.
Long an advocate for faith-based treatment programs and centers, Stone met with church leaders in western North Carolina's Catawba County in an effort to begin North Carolina's second halfway house operated by Baptists for recovering drug addicts. Stone, assisted by other concerned individuals, was instrumental in the founding of Damascus Home nearly four years ago.
"Faith-based programs offer hope for permanent recovery," Stone said. "Secular efforts offer temporary help," he continued, "The addiction must be replaced by a firm and working faith in God."
On the Road Again
On April 13, 1998, Ted Stone begins his second walk across America, continuing his mission of rallying countrymen to an active involvement in the war on drug abuse. This time his trek begins on the West Coast at San Francisco, continues eastward to Salt Lake City for the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in June, then southeastward to Albuquerque. From there he will travel eastward along Interstate 40 to Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, and eventually to Norfolk, Virginia by the 16th of October.
Stone will be accompanied by his mission associate, Philip Barber of Dallas, who will drive the escort car and perform numerous daily responsibilities of the trek, while Ted walks and talks across the land. Stone spoke at 200 locations on the 1996 walk and expects to speak over 250 times this trip.