Kayaking grandmother Deb Walters is July 2015 Maine Down East Magazine Best Adventurer on a Mission.

Safe Passage Director of Development Ron Joyce, Chris Percival, Dr. Deborah Walters, Safe Passage Board Member John Gundersdorf, Safe Passage Communications Coordinator Danielle Chrobak at Down East Magazine Best Of awards event
Safe Passage Director of Development Ron Joyce, Chris Percival, Dr. Deborah Walters, Safe Passage Board Member John Gundersdorf, Safe Passage Communications Coordinator Danielle Chrobak at Down East Magazine Best Of awards event

Dr. Deb Walters was named Editors’ Choice Best Adventurer for her Kayak for Safe Passage Kids Expedition as part of Down East magazine’s annual poll of reader and editor favorites, featured in the July 2015 issue. Thousands of Down East readers voted January through April for their statewide selections while editors went through a rigorous selection process of their own.

In case you missed it, on July 1, 2014, retired Unity College administrator Dr. Deb Walters set out from Yarmouth, Maine in a kayak, alone, to paddle 2,500 miles to Guatemala.

Her goal: raise awareness and funds for Safe Passage, benefiting children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump. She paddled 1,500 miles to South Carolina before a spinal injury stopped her.

Undeterred, Walters completed her mission by sailboat to Guatemala and helped raise more than $150,000.

“Deb enhanced public awareness of Safe Passage considerably,” says Safe Passage director of development, Ron Joyce. “And she cheered us all with her courage.”

The annual “Best of Maine” readers’ awards provide Down East readers the opportunity to recognize their favorite Maine people, places and things around the state.

Based solely on popular vote, the readers’ choice winners represent the best of Maine as identified by those who know Maine the best: the state’s residents and repeat visitors. Equally invested in the state’s culture, editors choose their own favorites to receive recognition each year.

Kathleen Fleury, Down East editor-in-chief, spoke of the selection process, saying,

“Our readers love Maine for many different reasons, and the Readers’ Choice awards encourage them to show their support for the people and places that make the state so great. The selection process is one that everyone puts a lot of time and thought into – so it’s a true honor to be selected.” Fleury added, “We don’t consider this list to be definitive, we like to think of this as a work in progress. Every year we discover previously unknown spots on our travels and we receive tips from our readers for future consideration. This is all part of what makes this one of the most eagerly anticipated issues of the year, and one that is also the most fun for us to work on.”