, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 26, 2012

Man crossing country on foot

He intends to raise awareness in Washington of homeless, elderly

BOYNTON — BOYNTON — After the death of his wife by a drunk driver in 2001 and his subsequent retirement, Dan Lyons found he had a lot of time to give.

The Reno, Nev., man has spent the last 10 years giving to charitable organizations all his time, sweat and effort — even participating in 12 Relay for Life events, he said.

And now he is walking to bring the plight of the homeless and senior citizens to the attention of his state senators and congressmen — all the way from Reno to Washington, D.C.

“Hopefully, after they’ve talked with me, the next bill that comes along that benefits the homeless or senior citizens will remind them of me,” Lyons said. “Hopefully, they’ll think ‘Ah, I remember Dan Lyons’ and pass the bill.”

Lyons said he began volunteering for causes after his wife died, in order to “carry on her legacy.” He and his wife often volunteered, he said.

His latest cause, the homeless and senior citizens, came about because he “grew tired of seeing retired or homeless people standing in line at the food pantry at the end of the month because they had to choose between groceries and the electric bill or medicine.”

AARP Nevada sent Lyons a letter of support, as well as Nye County Health and Human Services and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“It seems we have plenty of money for war, but not enough money to take care of the people that worked hard and even fought in wars to make this country what it is today,” said Lyons, a Vietnam War veteran.

“The bottom line is they need to provide more services, more grant money, for those that are in desperate need.”

Lyons has passed through three states on his way to Oklahoma, talking with the homeless and visiting shelters — gathering information to share with the legislators he will meet. He stopped for the night Monday in Boynton.

Boynton Police Chief George Ezell gave Lyons permission to pitch his tent at city hall for the night.

Lyons is walking because he tried phone calls and letters and never got a satisfactory response from Washington officials.

He finally asked, “Will you meet with me if I walk to Washington, D.C.?”

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., took him up on the offer. All three will meet with Lyons in person when he arrives, and Lyons will also be given a tour of the Capitol.

But all he really aims for is his state’s representatives to remember his face and his cause.

“They see faces every day. But instead of a sea of faces of supporters who pay $2,000 a plate to have dinner with them, I want them to see my face,” Lyons said. “I want them to remember me.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or

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