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    Vietnam Vet, Told He Might Never Walk Again, Walks Thru LB On Walk Around America, Receives LBPD & LBFD Patches & Escort

    (June 5, 2003) -- Charles Fluent is walking...something doctors thought he might never do again after a motorcycle accident left the Vietnam Vet seriously injured.

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03And today he walked through LB, with an escort from LBPD and part of a walk he's taking around the continental United States.

    Since the shortest distance is a straight line, walking around the borders of the continental U.S. is even more extreme.

    At an impromptu ceremony this morning in the parking lot of the ELB Holiday Inn (Willow St./Lakewood Blvd.), LBPD and LBFD brass, as well as CHP reps, presented Mr. Fluent with patches from their respective agencies. Mr. Fluent is collecting patches from public safety agencies during his grueling trek circling the U.S....and LB will now be represented.

    Among those attending: LBPD Dep. Chief of Patrol John Bretza, LBPD East Div. Commander Linda Beardslee, LBPD Watch Commander Lt. Michelle Miller, LBPD bike patrol officers, LBFD Dep. Chief Brad Wilson and LBFD Firefighters from Engine 9.

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03Dep. Chief Bretza presents Mr. Fluent with an LBPD patch...

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03...and an LBPD cap.

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03Mr. Fluent also gets an LBFD patch...

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03...and CHP chips in with a patch.

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03During his marathon walk, Mr. Fluent hauls a wheelbarrow type device. He says local schoolteachers held a student competition in which the challenge was to design a walking travois with wheels for his walk.

    In an autobiographical release, Mr. Fluent said that his physical rehabilitation from the motorcycle accident included intensive walking thereapy, and in 1996 he walked from Montana to Connecticut on a fundraising mission.

    "[W]ith the events of September 11th 2001, I became recommitted to raising awareness within the world that Americas are dedicated people," Mr. Fluent said...and he resolved to walk around the border of the continental U.S. He added, "this walk will be completed, despite any challenges that arise."

    And there have already been challenges. Mr. Fluent said he had to delay walking as his wife was diagnosed with cancer...but as of August 2002 she had recovered to the point where he could undertake the walk.

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03Before starting the day's journey that would take him through and out of LB, Mr. Fluent asked LBPD Public Information Officer Jana Blair to snap a picture of him with his throwaway camera. "It cost five bucks," he told her, "be careful with it."

    Chas. Fluent in LB, June 5/03Mr. Fluent began the journey in Miami, FL...and this morning, safely escorted by LBFD and LBPD personnel, Mr. Fluent began walking...first onto Willow St., then left on Lakewood Blvd., then toward the Traffic Circle and onto PCH, headed for points north.

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