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Local man walking city streets to raise awareness for homelessness

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Dan Rigler has hit the streets again. This year he will spend two days walking around the city wrapped in chains to raise awareness about homelessness.

Rigler, who is a board member at Rising Above Ministries, says he came up with the idea for the walk on August 11 after reading comments online about crime in the area.

“On Saturday I was just reading about all the crime and everything that’s happening in the city and then I read all the comments that people were making about how these people are a waste of skin, saying they’re useless and worthless…and it just broke my heart.”

Rigler has been doing events like this for the past six years as a way to bring attention to things like drug addiction and homelessness. He is hoping that this event will show people living on the streets that regardless of what they’ve done there are still people out there who care about them and want to help.

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“For people who are doing these crimes, I want to let them know that they’re still valued, their lives still matter, people still love them…and there is help for them.”

The first year Rigler held an event he was suspended in a crane basket over the Staples parking lot for 3 days. Over the course of six years, he has also spent a week downtown living as a homeless person and last year he pulled a 120-pound crate around the city by a chain to represent the struggles of drug addiction.

Rigler says he hopes the walk will make Grande Prairie residents rethink the way they see people living on the streets.

“For the people in the city that are making these comments calling these people down and everything, maybe it will make them reflect and find out that hatred is not the answer.”

Residents of Rising Above have also been asked to take part in the event. Participant Ernest Supernant found himself homeless while living in Slave Lake. He had been on the streets on and off for the past 6 or 7 years before moving to Rising Above three months ago. Supernant hopes that by participating in the walk he can reach out to people who have been through the same thing.

“Hopefully, I can run into some people and have a little talk with them and just tell them that there’s more to life than being out on the streets. There’s always hope.”

Rigler and some of the residents of Rising Above will be walking around the city wearing signs and chains until August 17.

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