Local non-profit hits a milestone

Published: May. 21, 2023 at 6:34 PM EDT
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OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - It’s a beautiful day to celebrate a big milestone.

The Courageous Steps Project held it’s 10th annual Walk-Run in honor Dylan McInnis.

Courageous Steps’ Founder/ CEO, Connor Archer has lived with Autism is entire life, and began the project and walk to give back, and support others with various abilities and challenges.

Connor said, “So, this started when I was a sophomore in high school as a way to give back to local programs that helped me get to where I am today. It was only supposed to be a one time event. And now 10 years later, it’s more than that. And it’s just, it’s served so many children, thousands of children and young adults all around eastern Maine and beyond.”

Connor now 25, with a Masters degree from Husson University, has grown the project far beyond a one-time walk.

And a decade later, the walk still draws a crowd and and a strong sense of enthusiasm.

His Mother, Jessica helped him get started.

Jessica said, “It is remarkable and it’s inspiring, you know, as his mom, we’ve been through an amazing journey together, and I’m just so honored to be a part of it and to continue to see where this is gonna go because I know that he is changing lives, making a difference every day. I’m so excited to be a part of it and support him every step of the way.”

A few years after the first walk, it was renamed to honor Dylan McInnis, who passed away 2016.

But, before his passing, Dylan had some time with the project.

Dylan’s parents, Chip and Jamie McInnis appreciate the community and all involved with the project.

“Some of what the courageous steps project does benefited him because he was someone that was living with Asperger’s which presents challenges to people,” said Chip.

After they told me about Dylan’s personality, I asked them, “Two key things that really stuck out to me about his personality. It seems like kindness and tenacity. So, do you think that this walk being going on as long as it has and hitting this milestone and everything kind of reflects kind of his spirit?

They replied, “Absolutely. I think so. Yeah, I agree. That’s tough to deal with as a parent losing a child. But when you have so many people in the community that you know, remember him not just today, but throughout the years. He really made a big impact on a lot of people. And we see that through a lot of different things through the community and his walk is one of them.”

Connor said, “We’re only getting started. We have so much coming. We’re just thankful for continuing to support this annual tradition here an all time high school’s victory field complex.”