600 Miles, One Million Steps, One Good Cause

Bart Buckendorf starts his 600-mile trek in Pocatello.

Not the usual Sunday stroll, one man is walking across Idaho for a good cause.

Today, Bart Buckendorf took the first few steps in what will end up being more than a million.

Bart Buckendorf says, "I have been an EMT and paramedic in the Treasure Valley for 35 years, and I have seen a lot of infants who have died in their sleep."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 3,500 babies die unexpectedly every year (usually while asleep).

Seeing the grief these families go through as a first responder led Buckendorf to finding the ABCs of Safe Sleep.

Buckendorf says, "Infants should be alone, on their back, in the crib while they're sleeping, for each and every sleep."

For years, Buckendorf has been teaching the ABCs of sleep as a way to prevent some families from unexpectedly losing a baby.

Now, he's spreading what he has learned over the years across the entire state of Idaho. What will end up being a nearly 600-mile journey started in Pocatello Thursday morning at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

From Pocatello, Buckendorf marched more than 20 miles to American Falls.

During the six and a half weeks it will take Buckendorf to trek across the state, he will be stopping in nearly 30 different cities to teach classes on safe sleeping practices for infants.

When his daughter gets out of school each week, the family will meet him along his route to provide moral support.

Buckendorf's wife Ronda says, "On the weekends when she's [their daughter Jessica] out we're going to come out and meet him. Meet him on Saturday and hangout, see his Saturday night class, and then just be with him on Sunday until we have to head home for school."

Over the next few weeks, the Buckendorf family's expedition has a goal.

Buckendorf says, "I was just trying to think of, there's got to be some way to bring a lot of attention to this, and it just came to me suddenly just to walk across Idaho teaching these classes like I've been doing."

For a list of the cities Buckendorf will be stopping in to teach a class during his walk, visit https://adacountyparamedics.org/idahowalkingtour/

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