By LARRY VAUGHT
What an inspiration it was to see Rick Burslem, Sunrise Children’s Services vice president of marketing, make his walk into the Sunrise facility in Danville Thursday and be greeted with signs and cheers from the 27 male residents ranging in age from 6-17 and staff members there.
Burslem started his 153-mile walk to visit all Sunrise facilities in Bronston April 1 and now has gone about one third of the way.
Burslem’s goal is to raise awareness for children in Kentucky who have needed to be placed in a safe environment at one of the Sunrise facilities because Kentucky has ranked first in the nation in child maltreatment the last two years and has been in the top ten states ranked worst for maltreatment of children for more than a decade.
Burslem admitted his daily walks have taken a toll physically on him but he’s planning to continue his walk after taking this weekend off. He won’t let heat, cold or even rain stop his journey and he told me he was following social distancing measures.
I took lunch provided by Melton’s Deli to him and got to spent about 15 minutes talking with him. He knows the impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having in Kentucky but says the number of children who need help is also staggering and often goes unnoticed.
“There are so many children who are victims of all kind of abuse and really need our help and care,” Burslem said. “There is emotional trauma along with the physical abuse. Our therapeutic environment can help and does help. Our staff knows how to help these kids and are so passionate and caring about it.”
Burslem says he’s met and talked to a lot of different folks along his route and hopes to continue to do so next week when he heads to Perryville, Springfield, Bardstown and finally Mt. Washington.