Friday, December 11, 2015: Phil "Right Click" Valentine, executive director of the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) and his wife Sandy "Trail Angel" Valentine regaled an audience of more than 200 people with Appalachian Trail (AT) stories at the historic Cheney Hall in Manchester, CT. Using slides, photos and an informal conversational format, Right Click described trials, tribulations and conquests while Trail Angel shared similar experiences supporting the 6-month hike from home. The power of personal recovery (Phil 27 years, Sandy 23 years) served as an underlying, inspirational theme of the presentation titled #continue.
The audience, riveted as they shared about navigating through stage 4 cancer in 2010 and Phil's call to walk the Appalachian Trail, laughed loudly when they heard Sandy's response to the call. Sandy humored him by saying with a nod and a smile, "Sure honey, sure. You're so cute." Phil was well aware of what the "you're so cute" phrase was code for. Ultimately, Phil would begin the hike on March 19th, 5 years from the day he was diagnosed.
On Friday, as the couple recalled many adventures, some downright miraculous, Phil talked about the 229 miles the AT covers through Pennsylvania. The trail, although not difficult in ups and downs, tormented and damaged his feet through miles and miles of sharp, jagged rocks. In this segment, even the audience joined his cry of "Pennsylvania SUCKS!"
The hike culminated on September 23rd on a brilliant, perfect, sunny day when Phil "Right Click" Valentine, summited Mount Katahdin in Maine. For Right Click, the emotional conclusion was not on the actual summit but when he collapsed into Trail Angel's arms waiting at the base. When the last slide was shown, a sign that read "Welcome Home Right Click", the audience stood, shouted and clapped.
Together, they have pledged to share their journey of faith wherever they can. If you are interested in having Phil and/or Sandy come to speak to you about this incredible experience, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of CCAR, Phil and Sandy we'd like to extend a sincere thank you to those who attended, donated and supported throughout this journey. All proceeds from the event went to the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) a non-profit 501c3.