Mount Pleasant Man Canoes 80 km for 80th Birthday

Canoeing is a passion for John Buckley, who owned Buckley’s Mountainside Canoes.

Img 5703“My wife and I, Donna, we have kind of a metaphor for us throughout the years,” said Buckley. “Anytime we need to go somewhere out first question is well, can we paddle there? And if not we drive.”

And for his 80th birthday, John wanted to do what he loves: paddling 80 km of the Chippewa River.

“My goal is for sure to paddle 80 kilometers,” said John. “If the enthusiasm is still there, I’ll see if I can paddle 80 miles.”

He started his journey at 4:00 in the morning on May 12. He plans to be done by 11:00 pm, with a few breaks in between.

“I gotta figure it’s going to take about 20 hours to do it,” said John.

But he’s not stopping there. He’s been raising money for the Friends of Isabella Seniors, too.

“I think it speaks volumes to what he’s trying to do with supporting the seniors in our community and hopefully inspiring them to stay active,” said Marcy Jerome, Activity Program manager for the Isabella County Commission on Aging.

John got the idea from a man in London who walked 100 laps for his 100th birthday.

“I thought this would be good to be inspired by him,” he said. “I wanted to challenge myself.”

He created t-shirts to raise money, too. Between t-shirt sales and donations, John raised over $10,000.

“You don’t turn 80 every day,” said John. “I got miles to paddle and a river to see.”