By Don Ogle
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Kansas Man Walks For Awareness


Don Ogle

One step at a time, Glenn Koster is helping spread the word to help get foster children the help they need in America.

Each year a number of people walk, bike or stop going through Sidney on a trek near to their hearts. But just after the Fourth of July, one man came through on a walk across the U.S. he's taking the "hard way."

East to west, it's roughly 2,500 miles across the country from east to west depending on the route, just shy of 1,600 from north to south. But taking a meandering route from the south tip of Florida to northern Washington, and you traverse 4,400 miles.

It's that meandering route that Kansan Glenn Koster is taking, because it represents the tough journey faced in America each day by foster children.

Koster says he is a double product of the foster care and adoption system, having gone the route of both when he was a child. He was abandoned as a child, adopted, but pulled from the adoptive home 13 months later. After that, he experienced the passing of his foster parent.

So this summer Koster is walking to share the story of foster children's difficulties and encouraging those along the way to help. He could have just as easily taken a more direct, easier, route. But he says "foster kids don't have an easy way," which is why he chose the harder trip.

Koster will share with anyone who asks about his trip, but his focus is on churches. There are 540,000 foster kids in the country, he said, and 690,000 churches.

"So if each church will help with just one foster child, there are more than enough to take care of all those kids," he said.

He also stresses churches as part of the mix because he said while foster parents may take the children in, they need a support system. "It's not just a family, it takes a church," to raise a foster child.

When he came through Sidney he took his message to the Evangelical Free Church during the Sunday School period, spreading the message of hope for foster children.

During his time in Cheyenne County, he spoke with several people who stopped and offered him help and said half had been in the system. With those visits, he got thanks for his trek and message, including thanks from a woman who had fostered a number of children.

The days are hot, the trek is long (9 million steps long), but Koster wouldn't trade it for anything.

"If just one child receives foster care because of what I'm doing," he said, "it's worth every step."


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