FAITH. HOPE. CHARITY.
The Walking Man,
Bro. Eric Morabito
Every Shriner is a Master Mason,
but not every Mason is a Shriner.
Eric Morabito (The Walking Man) joined Adonai Lodge 718, a little lodge upstate in Highland, New York on October 26, 2009. He was first introduced to the oldest, largest, and most exclusive fraternity in the world in the year of 2007. Brother George Goldstein (a member of Cyprus Shriners) came to a Boy Scout Roundtable event and talked about saving can tabs. This was the spark that grew into the fire that has inspired so many to follow Eric on his journey.
A year later in 2008 Eric felt like it was time to make a major change in his life. His physician warned that his heart showed signs of an impending heart attack and if he didn’t change his daily life immediately, his life would be cut very short. Over the next few days, Eric started walking every day to work off what we in masonry call the “Masonic Profile.” As he began to see the health benefits of his daily walking, he decided to use his long and distinguished scouting career to help the sick children at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield. By 2009, Eric was walking at least 4 miles a day and with the help of the New Paltz Boy Scouts raised $2,246.09 in pennies, which he donated at Ray Struck’s Potentates Ball. Ray Struck was the first Potentate of Cyprus Shrine to come from Adonai Lodge.
Bro. Morabito posing with his gear
On a brutally cold Monday, January 25th, 2010 Eric was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and a few short months later became a Noble of the Cyprus Shrine in Albany New York. The brothers of Adonai Lodge 718 and Cyprus Shrine all quickly became aware of how much each organization was made better because of the addition of Brother Eric to their organizations. It was early in 2012 that he thought to himself, he might be able to kill two birds with one stone. He could get in shape and get others to pledge money for every mile he walked in a year. And due to that success, he pivoted to his now yearly walk from Adonai Lodge 718 in Highland to Springfield; his destination was the campus of the Shriners Hospital in Massachusetts. In 2016 he added walking to the Boston Burn Hospital, and by the end of 2016 his running total raised during these walks totaled $19,646.09.
It was at this time that Eric was first recognized for his amazing efforts, and received the Shriners Spotlight Award. Few Masons will ever receive this prestigious award. Even a mild stroke in 2017 did not keep him down long, nor did it discourage his dreams. While in the hospital he walked 4 miles to keep his legs ready for his next fundraising walk. As of his last walk in late 2020 his new lifetime total money raised for sick or injured children totaled $55,630.
Over the last 11 years, give or take a day, Eric has walked 4,260 consecutive days, walked 32,500 miles (1.3 times around the equator), walked in 32 counties, 31 states, 3 countries, and one ocean. Eric has visited 65 Shrine Centers, 12 Shriner Hospitals, and too many lodges to list. On the health side of this story, Eric has burned off 4,550,000 calories and walked off 1,300lbs. He has worn out 38 pairs of shoes, and while walking all these miles found over $6,300 on the ground, which was all donated to the hospitals, bringing his lifetime total to $65,776.09.
All the before mentioned was accomplished by Eric at his own expense. None of the money went to his shoes, tents to sleep in during the walk, any gear, food, drink, or cover his time off to make the walk every year. Eric is a shining light of hope in the world that epitomizes what every Mason should attempt to emulate. Trying every day to make the world a little better and especially help children most of which who would never have had the life they have if not being treated at a Shriners Hospital. And as I am writing this story about Eric, it was just brought to my attention that he was featured in another world-renowned website. People Magazine online, just wrote a story titled “25 reasons for hope in America in 2020”. Eric Morabito was in the company of 24 other people that have used their creativity to inspire hope in America during these trying times. Brother Eric is in the company of Sam Smith, 4 time Grammy winner, Dolly Parton, Beatrice Lumpkin (102-year-old Chicago women who bought a hazmat suit so she could vote), Sir David Attenborough, and Prince William just to name a few. I am sure that he will soon be given further recognition not only by Shriners International but also the Grand Lodge of the State of NY.
How you can help
To learn more about Eric’s charitable work, donate, or the Shrine – click on the appropriate button below.
Adonai Lodge #718
Member of Cyprus Shrine, Oriental Shrine, Ulster County Shrine Club, Valley of Albany A.A.S.R, Poughkeepsie Chapter 172, Poughkeepsie Commandery 43, Royal Order of Scotland.