Hello to everyone who came here after seeing my story on The Today Show. Welcome to my Walk Across Massachusetts. From the rugged Berkshires to historic Boston to sunny Cape Cod, we have a beautiful state… I hope you can come visit some time.

Contact me at: bjhill at gmaildotcom

or @WalkAcrossMass

Thank you! BJ

Whenever I do these walks, I discover a couple of stories that belong in the Can’t Make This Stuff Up category. This is one of my favorites.

Before I left Worcester on July 4th, my local newspaper, the Worcester Telegram arrnaged a phone interview with reporter Craig Semon. Craig told me the newspaper would send a staff photographer to get some snapshots, too.

The photographer contacted me and we arrnaged to meet at a quiet, scenic place in West Boylston. We met and he introduced himself as Steve Lanava. He had me do some walking shots, some sitting shots… The whole thing took about 15 minutes. He got what he needed and we parted ways.

While I was driving home, I began to think…. Steve Lanava…. Why was that name so familiar? I had did a little freelance work for the T&G on the past, but I know that wasn’t a photographer I had ever worked with. But why did he seem so familiar?

That evening, I was going through some (very) old pictures and newspaper articles and found this clipping. When I was growing up, the Sunday Telegram had weekly essay writing competitions. The winner got something like a book and a certificate. Well, I entered (I think my whole fourth grade class entered) and I won. The newspaper sent out a photographer, and it was… Steve Lanava.

That’s right, the same photographer who shot 9-year-old me in July 1986 shot me again, 32 years later in June 2018. We’ve never seen each other between that time.

There’s been a lot of flack lately against the media and against the press. But the men and women who work for local newspapers, they’re the chroniclers of our families. They watch us grow up, report when we go for a district championship, win a scholarship, serve overseas, start a business, or get a big promotion. They’re there to tell the story when we have to fight a disease or fight the insurance company. They document our best times and our tragic times. They’re overworked and underpaid . But there isn’t one parent in America who wouldn’t “cut out and save” an article about their child. That’s why this clipping is still in our family. So from me, thank you to all the dedicated men and women who work in the media. We appreciate you.

I try to do these walks on the cheap, but there are expenses like meals, snacks, and equipment. Every little bit helps. Thank you!

Keep BJ Walkin’ (and hydrated!)

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