PIERCETON, Ind. (WANE) — A new walking trail in Kosciusko County aims to take hikers on the path of forgiveness.
The Forgiveness Trail at Pierceton Woods Academy pays tribute to the facility’s long-time chaplain Rev. Harold Graham, who died earlier this year, by making sure his lessons will live on long after his death.
“Harold had a really unique ability to be able to touch people’s lives,’ said Mark Terrell, CEO for Pierceton Woods Academy. Whether it was the juveniles he helped at the residential placement facility or adults he met along the way. Graham left an impression.
“Harold used to walk through this campus and revoice picking mushrooms or doing crazy things,” Terrell said. “The whole time he was speaking into their lives and they had no idea he was changing their lives.”
After decades of service working with thousands of young people who have lived difficult lives, Graham died of cancer in March. To honor his work, Pierceton Woods began planning the Forgiveness Trail in December, just three months before his death. At about a half-mile long, the trail takes hikers along Graham’s seven-step path to learning forgiveness.
“You can walk out of here with a plan,” said Terrell. “A lot of people are hurting. There’s a lot going on right now in our country and I believe one of the factors that we can do to change this is people need to forgive each other. People need to say it’s okay, I give you grace, and that’s what this is about.”
Graham, who continued to work with the young people throughout his cancer treatment, knew about plans for the trail and was looking forward to its completion.
“Harold loved it, was so excited not because it’d be named after him or anything like that but because he knew it would live longer than he was going to live and I think he’s very excited about it,” said Becky Graham, Harold’s widow. “I think he saw the results of processing through forgiveness and finding freedom from all the weight they’re carrying from the unforgiveness.”
Not only can walkers read his lessons on signs spaced along the trail, but a quick scan of a QR code reveals much more.
“I was tearful all the way through when I saw his picture and heard his voice,” said Becky Graham, “It’s beautiful. He loved these words, and it’s the setting is gorgeous. I think he would be so so I would be very pleased.”
Graham’s lessons will carry on outside of Kosciusko County. Two more trails are planned, one to built near Valparaiso possibly in 2022 and another and in the Dominican Republic.
You can check out the trail yourself by scheduling an appointment. You can do so by calling 260-745-3322 ext 5011 or going to the Lifeline website. Walks can be guided or by yourself and you can take a workbook along with you for a more in-depth look at the lessons.