Hartland man kayaking Mississippi River to raise funds for substance abuse programs

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Mike Malott of Hartland, and Dave Randolph of Clinton, Ill., plan to kayak the length of the Mississippi this summer. The plan is to launch at the headwaters of the river in northern Minnesota on Aug. 1 and paddle down the river in about 60 to 65 days. The trip will be complete when they reach the Gulf of Mexico, likely in the first week of October. All said, that’s a journey of about 2,350 miles.

Besides being an epic adventure, the trip will double as a fundraiser for alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs at the Hope Center in Lexington, KY, and the Key Development Center in Brighton in memory of substance abuse counselor Colin Crumm who passed away in August 2015 from cancer. Colin struggled with alcohol addiction most of his adult life, but in the last four to five years, he achieved sobriety with the help of the Hope Center and became a substance abuse counselor there himself. Although there are few details, Colin is credited with talking about a dozen men – hardcore, live-in-the-woods alcoholics – into starting rehabilitation in order to restart their lives.

Donors can pledge any amount they would like per mile or contribute a flat amount. To donate, visit the trip’s blog at silveroutsider.com and click on the “donate” link.

Some 27 others have announced plans to paddle the Mississippi source to sea in 2016, according to John F. Sullivan and the Mississippi River Paddlers Facebook page. Most have already launched and are on the river now. Fifty-one people are known to have done the trip last year, according to www.bigrivermagazine.com/paddlers2015.html.

Key Development Center provides addiction rehabilitation in Livingston County, and is a nonprofit that provides treatment on a sliding scale. No one is turned away due to an inability to pay, according to Executive Director Anna King Hudson. Learn more about Key Development Center at www.keycenters.org.

Hope Center of Lexington programs “sleep 800 clients each night,” combatting homelessness and providing addiction rehabilitation and mental health services. Learn more at www.hopectr.org.

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Submitted photo: Mike Malott paddles in his kayak.

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