Do Good Country Spotlight: Jimmy Wayne

April 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm , by

J Wayne cover imageRiding high on the success of his first number-one song, 2008’s “Do You Believe Me Now?”, Jimmy Wayne was having a great 2009. He had a new CD, Sara Smile, about to drop in November, and he was touring as the opening act on the Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley tour. He even got to play Madison Square Garden the week of his birthday. I had the good fortune of being there when he was surprised backstage with a birthday cake commissioned by some top-tier fans and baked by TLC’s the Cake Boss. (Yes, I had a slice. It was an offer—and a cake—I couldn’t refuse.)

Come Christmastime, though, the singer was feeling the weight of his good fortune. “I started to think about where I’d come from, remembering all the times I’d lived outside in the cold and slept on the ground,” says Wayne, who had an abusive childhood and spent years as a homeless teen, shuffling in and out of foster homes. “I had a little bit of guilt. When you come from that background, you never want to walk away from it. You always want to do as much as possible to give back. And I started thinking that I really hadn’t done anything significant in 2009 that really helped to give back.”

Cut to January 1, 2010. Wayne laced up and launched his Project Meet Me Halfway walk, an effort to call attention to the plight of kids in the foster care system—especially those who “age out,” meaning they’re cut off J Wayne at Texas - New Mexico borderfrom foster care funding and health insurance. In some states, that’s at the age of 18 and, all too often, these kids end up homeless. Choosing two foster care organizations he’s done a lot of work with through the years as starting and end points, Wayne departed from the parking lot of Nashville’s Monroe Harding on his way to Phoenix’s HomeBase Youth Services, and is still en route. Yes, that’s a planned 1,700-mile walk, started in the dead of winter. Yes, he knows it’s kinda crazy and, yes, he’s had doubts along the way. But, at posting time, he’s logged more than 1,000 miles and even survived his first rattlesnake encounter near the Texas-New Mexico border (pictured).

You can keep track on exactly where Wayne is on his Meet Me Halfway website (in case you want to head out to meet him and offer some support), as well as find links to donate to both Monroe Harding and HomeBase Youth Services. You can even check out some live webcasts that Jimmy does from the road on the site too.

I chatted with Wayne right around his arrival in Amarillo, Texas—roughly the midpoint of his journey. He brought me up to speed on the inspiration for the walk, his personal history with foster care, and how you can help spread the word and help the cause. All that, after the jump.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while growing up in and out of the foster care system?
I had to figure out how to make money without selling drugs, cause all my friends were selling drugs. So I’d go to the grocery store for old people, and they would give me two bucks to go buy a gallon of milk, and then they’d give me the change left over. Or I’d pick blackberries for a guy down the road who made wine. That’s how I made money and how I made enough money to send to my mom when she was in prison. I’ve always been a worker.

Tell me about the couple who eventually took you in when you were 16.
[Beatrice and Russell Costner] took me into their home and about 4 or 5 days after I moved in, Russell wanted to have a talk. I knew he was going to make me leave because that’s what happens. That’s what had happened so many times before. The best way to describe Russell is if you take Andy Griffith and Clint Eastwood in the movie Gran Torino, and put ’em together. He was a very small guy, a military guy. He had a heart of gold, but you didn’t want to cross paths with him. He told me, “If you’re gonna stay here, there’s two things you gotta do: You gotta cut off all of your hair just like mine, and you have to go to church. If you don’t, you gotta leave now.” I stayed there six years, and that changed my life.

What was your secret to your success, having had so many disadvantages?
Definitely staying out of trouble and away from the bad guys. I stayed away from all the crime, all the drugs. I didn’t drink. I didn’t party. I didn’t socialize very much. I was a quiet guy. That was the key that led me to focusing on a hobby, which was music. I focused and I didn’t let anything get in my way. The main thing that allowed me to do all that was the fact that I had a home. I had a foundation, a launching pad—someone that allowed me to do that. It’s hard to focus when you’re shuffling around from home to home.

jimmy with kids (Kilgore)So the idea for the Meet Me Halfway walk came to you around Christmas? Take me through that.
I was gazing at my thermostat and just thinking about how fortunate I was to have a home and my own thermostat. I could turn it up and down whenever I like. Had it not been for [the Costners], I wouldn’t be where I’m at. And I wouldn’t have that thermostat. I wouldn’t have this home. And it all happened in about four minutes. I thought, I need to do something. I need to sleep on the streets of Nashville tonight and try to raise some awareness. And then I got to thinking that no one’s gonna care about that. I needed to do something on a grand scale.

What’s your main goal in doing the walk?
I’m not trying to impress anybody. I’m just trying to get the word out there because what good is a gift, if you don’t give it back? I’ve been given the gift of experience, and I feel like if I just hoard that experience and don’t share it, give it back or pay it forward, that’s a waste. If you’ve got all this experience in life and you don’t share it with anybody, what are you doing? You can help many people. If you choose not to do that, it’s a shame. It’s a crying shame.

Lots of people come out and support you on your walk. Anyone in particular touch you?
[Eighteen-year-old] Gabe. He was smart, he was very articulate—a very go-getting type of guy. He rounded up seven other kids in the neighborhood [in Caddo Gap, Arkansas] and had them come out and walk with me. What I found out is Gabe was needing a home and Marcie Horn [the local lunchroom lady] had taken him in. I asked him, “Why can’t you go home and stay with your mom?” He said she lives in a camper and the power was turned off. He said, “We heat with a propane tank inside, and we cook with a propane tank inside.” And I remember those days. I gave him a cross that was hanging on my backpack that he really liked. He liked it a lot. So I gave it to him, which started something. It started a little trend where people now are giving me their necklaces and I’m gonna give them to the homeless kids when I get to Phoenix. A guy today just stopped and gave me a cross off of his neck. I’m taking all these crosses that people give me and I’m taking them to Phoenix. A lady came up to me the other day and said that this particular necklace, she had bought it for her boyfriend and shortly afterwards, he’d gotten cancer and passed away. That necklace was his and it meant a lot to her, but she gave it to me to give to the kids. That’s good stuff, man.

What can people at home do to help? What do these foster care groups need?Definitely funds. These organizations need money to keep the doors open. And I suggest people call. Find out the sizes of the kids. There’s all kinds of shapes and sizes of kids that are there. These kids are going to job interviews and they want to look good. And instead of just taking your clothes down to a store that’s gonna resell them at a price these people can’t afford, why not just give the clothes to Monroe Harding or somewhere and let them give them to the kids?

Finally, any guilty pleasures/requests for anything people coming out to meet you on the road could bring you?
I love coffee, so it’s a Coffee-Mate. The Hazelnut Coffee-Mate liquid. If it’s powdered, I can’t use it. It makes my stomach hurt. So if you really want to help me, bring that!

Are you a fan of Wayne’s music, his walk, or both? Let us know. And share the details of any cool meetings you might have had with him if you made a point to visit him out on the road. We’d love to hear them!

Monroe Harding photo: Natalie Kilgore

141 Responses to “Do Good Country Spotlight: Jimmy Wayne”

  1. Keep you the wonderful work Jimmy and God Bless you and keeps you safe on your walk Across America

  2. I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy while he was on tour with Brad Paisley. His life story deeply touched my heart and when he announced his walk and talked about the homeless youth, which I had no clue about, I was touched even more. I could really relate, having two teenage sons at home. I am a music fan, a fan of MMH, but most of all, a Jimmy as a person fan!

  3. This article is very inspiring. Just beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing Jimmy’s journey with us.

  4. I was greatly moved by his choice to do such a significant act at the worst time of the year. I was genuinely concerned for his health and safety. It has truly inspired me to see so people seeing to his safety and needs, which is increasing the coverage of his walk and the awareness of teen homelessness. He’s taken some wonderful pictures that I’ve enjoyed seeing on Twitter. May God provide continued blessings for this journey.

  5. I am a huge fan of Jimmy Wayne. I think he is an inspiration to adults and kids!! So proud to be a fan and supporter of Meet Me Halfway! Go Jimmy! You truly are AMAZING!

  6. Very inspiring to see someone reach into the gifts they’ve been given to give back. I’ve followed quite a bit of this journey and he’s not only doing something wonderful, but he is appreciative and very respectful of all of his fans (old and new) that are participating along with him – whether they are donating, coming out and walking/meeting him, or just helping him to spread awareness. He’s come a long way, metaphorically and geographically, lol, and it’s a beautiful thing :-)

  7. Jimmy Wayne’s story is very inspirational and really touched my heart. I believe in what he is doing and how he is bringing awareness to a cause that is still under the radar. I had no clue about. So keep up the awesome job and keep on trekking!

  8. A great interview and a great inspiration do do something to help this great cause! I’m a fan of Jimmy’s and his amazing plight to bring the much needed awareness of these special kids and their desire for a good home, foudation and solid footing that will help set the stage for their life’s journey. Jimmy…you are an amazing role model!

  9. So proud of everything you are doing Jimmy! once I graduate college in May I’m trying my best efforts to get to where you are and walk with you.. keep up the work, you’re one of God’s gifts

  10. As someone who has been a long time Jimmy Wayne fan and supporter, I was super excited when I heard that he was doing MMH. Jimmy has such a big heart and is trying to make a difference for others. His own personal story is touching and inspirational. Keep on going Jimmy! Know that we are behind you 100% of the way!

  11. The work that you are doing Jimmy is wonderful. MMH is just what is needed to open the eyes of people like me that never ever gave it a thought. I tell everyone I know about MMH and the effort that you are making. You inspire me everyday to be a better person and I look at many things in my life differently! Keep up the great work. May God bless you and keep you from harm (snakes, tornado’s etc…) but most of all stay focused MMH is wonderful. Rest well next week :)


  12. What a great story and an amazing individual.Jimmy has the guts to take action when he sees the disadvantage so many of these kids have. We all need to step up and invest in these kids. He knows from where these kids come. Great work Jimmy !!!!


  14. How many people in today’s world actually put their money or in Jimmy Wayne’s case, his feet where their mouth is? I think very few of us outside of camping a week or two can even imagine a life where you HAVE to sleep outside in all kinds of weather. Jimmy knows what that is like and is willing to cross half of America to draw attention to it and help others that are now or soon will be sleeping out there. Good work, Jimmy..And God Bless you and “your children”.

  15. I was a Jimmy Wayne before the walk, but ever since the walk, I have been truly inspired by what he is doing. Not many people would give up months of their lives, their comfortable living conditions, to do what Jimmy Wayne is doing. We have learned so much about where Jimmy came from, foster care & the issue of aging out through this walk. He is a truly amazing individual!

  16. I am impressed with Jimmy Wayne both as a musician and a person. It is inspiring to witness how an act of kindness shown to him is now multiplied to others through his selflessness.
    I had the pleasure of meeting him after a concert in Minnesota and was amazed by the effort he made to reach out and connect with his fans.

  17. Jimmy is changing the world for foster children one step at a time – literally! My husband and I adopted two boys out of foster care – they were getting to the age where it was going to be hard for them to find parents as most people don’t want to adopt “older children”. Thank you Jimmy, for changing my world!! :)

  18. Jimmy Wayne is bringing awareness to a huge problem in America, young adults that age out of the foster system and need help making that transition. They need our help! Keep up the great work Jimmy, we are all behind you every step of the way.

  19. Jimmy is an inspiration. He has made me a fan of his and also just made me cry at work.
    He is the reason I started to like country music the amount they give back is amazing.

  20. Jimmy is an absolutely amazing guy with an even more amazing heart. He has so much compassion and love for others. This journey is an awesome experience for him. As a supporter I am proud to say that I am a HUGE fan. On this journey he has opened my eyes to new things (such as volunteering). Thank you Jimmy for everything that you are doing and will do on this adventure. You are a true inspiration to so many people and you are bringing hope to these kids.

  21. Great artical, thanks so much for showing support to Jimmy Wayne and helping to get the word out about Project Meet Me Halfway. It is an amazing thing that he is doing and it is really making a difference.

  22. I just met jimmy last fri night at the fair. I love what he is doing, hes like an angel. we have a lot in common when it comes to our childhood. He is doing a great thing for kids, im glad i met him. I wish my kids & I could walk along with him this summer. I was born in phoenix, so it makes it even cooler that that is where he ends his journey! keep walking sweetie!

  23. This is a wonderful and touching way to raise awareness for foster children. Most people would care enough to walk halfway across America or tolerate all of the conditions he has endured during his amazing journey to Phoenix. Jimmy is a great and respectful man for doing this!Keep up the good work and God Bless him for thinking of the foster children,they are good kids who need love and support!

  24. What a beautiful example of walking the walk this man is. Jimmy has sacrificed so much in his personal life to pour all of himself into something he hopes will bring enough attention to inspire programs and bring about legislation that will bridge foster kids into their adult years by teaching them skills– not just toss them out into the streets at 18! To follow inspiring weekly updates about where Jimmy is on his daily journey, log onto

  25. I admire Jimmy Wayne for so many reasons! I first met Jimmy Wayne when I was shopping in Nashville at the Opry Mills Mall. I heard someone singing, followed the awesome voice and found him alone singing and playing his guitar. I listened until he was finished, then talked to him. The Paper Angels video was new at the time, and he asked me if I had seen it. I was very impressed with Jimmy, and I went straight to the music store and bought his first CD. My family and I listened to it on our two hour trip back home that night. From that time on, I have been a fan of Jimmy’s. I saw and spoke to him again in Huntsville, AL when he was opening for Lone Star. The most memorable time I spent with Jimmy was at Puckett’s in Nashville. It was a small place and Jimmy performed alone. My family and I talked with him before the show and also afterward. I was so impressed with his strong, clear voice and his sweet personality. He is a true person, the kind that will always know you and speak to you. He has been through some rough times, and I am so happy to see him doing well! May God bless him and keep him safe until he walks across the finish line of his selfless journey. Barbara Walton, Killen, AL

  26. Jimmy is a messenger from GOD. My situation doesn’t refer to homeless or foster, but the child is in a difficult surrounding as far as parents. Jimmy is an inspiration! Just to know that children with troubled childhoods can turn out to be great adults. You Jimmy, give me hope! Thanks for sharing your story!

  27. Great article on Jimmy Wayne. He has such a great heart and thinks of others! I’ve met him several times and he was always so nice. He remembered me after about the 6th time. There aren’t many country singers out there that would stay in homes of people they don’t know either. He doesn’t think that he’s “too good” for people that aren’t in the music/show business. Thank you for supporting MMH!

  28. What Jimmy Wayne is doing is the greatest thing any country music artist has ever done in my book. Anything he is blessed with, he returns to those less fortunate ten-fold; that takes a lot of faith, and a lot of passion. He has one of the purest hearts I’ve ever seen, and he never tries to advance his own career by being selfless. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jimmy a few times, and he is exactly the same guy that he portrays himself to be: selfless; humble; passionate about what he puts his minds to; approachable; and completely selfless. I have never met a man like Jimmy before, and I doubt I ever will.

    This is a man that sets an example worth following…

  29. I’ve been a fan since his first album but didn’t actually meet him until after a show 2008 and was surprised by how genuinely nice he is, even when faced with my particular sense of humor, and how much fun he has with the fans. Most singers won’t spend a couple of hours AFTER the show hanging around with people to make sure everything was signed and every picture was taken. It didn’t surprise me one bit when he struck out on this mission and everyday I’m more proud to be a fan. When so many “celebrities” get attention and press coverage for misbehavior and less than admirable activities, Jimmy is someone kids and adults alike can – and should – look up to. Finding people in the public eye with honor is rare, but Jimmy has plenty.

  30. He is the real deal. Not doing it for publicity for himself. He is just a good person who is actually doing something instead of sitting around wishing he was doing it. I wish him much sucess in all he does.

  31. I have been following the story since day 1 on twitter and reposting on my facebook for others to see this amazing journey. thank you Jimmy for raising awareness to such a heartbreaking topic. We all need someone to feel connected to, the youth in Foster Care are no different. They need soemone as well. PS – Jimmy, I would like to suggest more involvement of the Country stations (at least I have not noticed here in CT) to bring awareness during National Foster Care Month (in May) and National Adoption Day (the Thursday before Thankgsgiving) – and tieing you in – ESPECIALLY with the song ‘Paper Angels’ from your first CD. – well just my thoughts. I know you have one more state to go….. You Go Boy!!!! God bless you and those around you. Many blessings

  32. Thanks for the great article! When I first heard Jimmy Wayne’s story in January 2009 I was very touched and amazed at not only how he was able to turn his life around, but also at how openly and honestly he tells his story. He has he biggest heart of anyone I know. I’ve had the opportunity to meet him twice and hope to again. He has been very inspiring to me since he started his walk. I wish him much success with Project MMH and helping the teens in foster care. He has touched so many people’s lives and will continue to even when he is done with the walk.

  33. Jimmy Wayne is the most awesome ,caring man I have ever met. The depth of his inner thoughts are an emotional bridge for him to be able to express how deeply he feels about what he is doing.I respect him,and support him in whatever he does.I hope all the best for the MMH Project.

  34. Great article. I started following Jimmy’s walk shortly after it began. My wife and I had the pleasure to speak to him and bring him water and snacks when he walked through our area in Jackson, TN. Super nice and humble guy. It’s hard not to like and be a fan of his. I have so much respect for what he is doing and how far he has gotten. He talks the talk and walks the walk…no games with Mr. Wayne’s cause. Support MMH!

  35. Thank you Mr. Kelly for the wonderful interview. I follow Jimmy’s path, I saw and I heard everything he told us about his project Meet Me Halfway. He walks from January 1st until now under very difficult situations from Nashville TN to Phoenix AZ with a smile upon his face, with faith in his project MMH and the hope that many people will follow him in his path helping the teens of this country through many ways! It’s a great cause and Jimmy’s heart is brighter than gold and diamond! He loves to give back to the children, what they need the most and to raise awareness for foster teens who age out of the system. A great heart so wide open to embrace the needs of those children and teens. We are very proud of him and we thank God for the Gift Jimmy is spreading into our World, because Jimmy Wayne is a God’s Gift, not only a very talented musician. Jimmy Wayne is a contemporary HERO and a model of how we can change the world, how the world can be better, because Jimmy’s MMH makes a big difference.
    Thank you so much Jimmy! God bless you now and forever!

  36. MEET ME HALFWAY~Jimmy Wayne

    “Alone we can do little, together we can do much.”
    (Helen Keller)

  37. Thank You for the Excellent Article on Jimmy Wayne and his #MMH Project! Jimmy certainly has inspired alot of people that didn’t know about the Number of Children Aging Out of the Foster Care System! His main Goal was to bring the Awareness, and he has Achieved that! I have been a long time Fan and I am So Proud of what he has Accomplished! Jimmy taking the time to walk all these Miles and share every step of his Journey with all his Fans & Supporters makes you feel like your walking right with him! Please Support his Meet Me Halfway Journey!

  38. what he is doing is inspiring…he helped with The Extreme Home Makeover in Montgomery over a year ago….my 3-yr old granddaughter donated her piggy bank to that family and then when Jimmy started the MMH project, she donated one to Monroe and Harding—paying it forward

  39. Jimmy Wayne is inspiring others to action as well. His Project Meet Me Halfway now has a volunteer organization of people all across the country who are working to help foster kids aging out in their communities—it’s called the Meet Me Halfway Street Teams. Anyone can join on the Street Team signup page. We encourage everyone to join and do whatever they can to help!

  40. I have been a fan of Jimmy Waynes for many years and I can say he has a heart and soul of gold. His Meet Me Halfway project is one that is greatly needed. These teens are our future! PLEASE support MEET ME HALFWAY , help make a change!!

  41. Mr. Kelly thank you for supporting MMH and Jimmy! Your article was super! Back in November, I made it point to meet Jimmy at Cowboys in Kennesaw, Georgia. A friend of mine had told me Jimmy’s story. I knew some of the parallels of his story too well. I was so nervous that I couldn’t say much when I caught up to him that night. What I did say was “that the parallels of our lives were the same and I understood it too well. I remember his caring hug as he whispered “God Bless you” That hug seemed to last forever before I pulled back. As I stepped back, I remember facing him and taking both hands one on each shoulder and saying “Keep doing what you’re doing!” It was worth the 3 months of coughing it took for me to get over all the cigarette smoke from that night.
    Because of all the people who “Met Me Half Way”, I have a very successful life. Your article is part of the flame helping to create that awareness~Thank you again! Here’s to Jimmy’s purpose driven life!!

  42. Looks like the above link didn’t work. To volunteer with a Project Meet Me Halfway Street Team, please go to and then the “Join a Street Team” page.

  43. Wow. Thanks to everyone’s stories and support for Jimmy and his walk. He’s a lucky guy to have such active, supportive fans who are helping him get the message out there. Keep the stories coming!

  44. Jimmy Wayne is one of the few entertainers who will go the extra “mile” for a personal cause he is passionate about. Not only does he have an awesome voice but he seems genuinely driven to help homeless children.

    Wonderful man!


  45. I could go on all day about how much I admire Jimmy for his kindness,his talents and his strength that have created the man he is today.I have had the pleasure of meeting up with him a couple times at his shows.He’s always friendly,funny and cute!His mission with MMH, as it is known to the “regulars” on Twitter(Hi guys!;D)is one of such grandeur,that how can you not sit up and take notice,then take action? The passion he portrays when he speaks of the importance of helping these teens have some stability in their lives,is so endearing.His latest suggestion has been labeled “Here for a Year”.Give that 18 year old who’s aged out of the system your extra bedroom in your home,that extra seat at the dinner table,your address so that they may finish high school,and have a year to try and figure things out,in order to move forward successfully with their lives..How can you not?So yes,heheh… I am a huge Jimmy Wayne fan both musically,and personally!

  46. What Jimmy Wayne is doing through this walk is really nothing short of amazing. He is bringing attention to a problem that many people were not even aware and I’m sure helping to raise much needed funds along the way. I am proud to consider myself a fan of such a wonderful man who is making such great sacrifices for this worthy cause. I only wish I lived close enough to his route to go out and give him encouragement along his way.

  47. Jimmy Wayne is such an amazing guy with an incredible history behind him. His story has touched me deeply with respect and admiration, even more so now with his Project Meet Me Halfway. I am a huge fan and supporter of MMH and will be there in support long after his incredible journey walking across country is over. Jimmy has been blessed with the “gift of experience” and his WORD continues to reach and touch thousands! Thank you Ron, for this wonderful article!

  48. I think what Jimmy’s doing is a great thing. I’ve gone to 5 of his concerts in the past year and a half and met him all 5 times. I was able to win a private m&g with him and told him I could sign in ASL his #1 hit, Do You Believe Me Now. He let me perform it with him that day and then again for my birthday. He’s a special guy and one that has inspired me to earn my Girl Scout Gold Award. Thanks for all you do Jimmy!

  49. First off I’d like to thank Mr. Kelly for a terrific interview with Jimmy Wayne on Meet Me Halfway. Jimmy is one unique indiviual with a great deal of heart, soul, pride, & dedication to his past. He was given such a wonderful opportunity that was given to him by Bea & Russel Cosner. He took all of their love, teaching, guidance & embraced it. He always was good naturaled & always helped out others any chance he could. He is an inspiration by giving back & passing on what was taught to him by the Cosner family. He never took anything for granted & always appreciated what was given to him. He’s got a great country music career in front of him that will continue his passion & telling of his life stories. What you see is exactly what you get always more never less. He is a remarkable & kind hearted person by choice. He is a true idol to look up to by all & an American Hero. Thank you Jimmy Wayne & God Bless you always & forever.
    Your love is genuine & pure.

  50. Great article. Have been following Jimmy Wayne via his Twitter postings, photos, etc from the beginning. Even when we don’t comment, we are there with him. He’s made us laugh and amused us with his experiences on the road. But most of all he has made us pay attention to an issue most have not realized existed.

  51. :-D Thanks Jimmy!

  52. WOW. Jimmy Wayne is my hero. What a wonderful and genuine man. If only there were more men like him in this world; what an even better world this would be. Thank God for Jimmy Wayne.

  53. I wish that more people thought like this. Instead of worrying about keeping up appearances, and what we don’t have. You always have to remember that material things come and go and that you cannot put a price on love and compassion. Jimmy Wayne is a “real” human being, who realizes that you have to share your blessings. Thank you Jimmy. Be safe and enjoy your week off :-)

  54. You are a total inspiration to me to be a better person…you walk the walk not just talk…your amazing…God Bless you always! xoxo Beth

  55. Thank you Ron for a great article about Jimmy and MMH. Jimmy is a remarkable and humble man. I’ve watched him over this journey and seen how he’s treated people around him. He is genuine and has a HUGE heart! He’s had opened my eyes to the problem regarding teen homelessness and aging out of the system. I’m currently researching some places where I can go volunteer all because of him. I’ve never met Jimmy but certainly hope to in the future and let him know what a blessing he is. God certainly broke the mold when He made Jimmy!

  56. Keep up the awesome work Jimmy!!!
    Thanks for the article!!

  57. Hi Jimmy! You are a wonderful person!!!!!! You are an inspiration!
    As I work in a business office, I buy alot of clothes & when I’m done w/ them, I usually give them to the St. Martin’s Center ~ they give the clothes to needy people w/out charging them. I don’t know where children are placed, other than foster homes, in my area but the St. Martin’s Center doesn’t discriminate against anyone.

  58. Jimmy is an incredible artist and a better human being, with an endless level of energy that never quits. Jimmy’s persistence, determination, and endurance are inspirational, and because of that, he will always hold a very special place in my heart.

  59. Jimmy is just an inspiration, wonderful person, with the biggest heart. He makes people think. He inspires us all to help out where we can.

    Jimmy just ROCKS!!!

  60. That was a very good article. I loved reading it. My daughter Lauren and I have been following Jimmy’s walk from the beginning and have been fans for about 2 yrs. We had the privilege of walking with Jimmy while he was in Oklahoma. We surprised Lauren, who has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair, that she would get to walk (roll in her case) with Jimmy for her 20th birthday. It was the perfect time since the highway he was on had wide enough shoulders for her wheelchair. She wanted to do something other than sit at home watching Jimmy trek halfway across America. We flew from Sacramento, CA to Oklahoma City, OK. She had the time of her life. She loved being out there supporting Jimmy and his project. Jimmy has inspired so many people to get involved and volunteer in their own communities. Thank you Jimmy for being the wonderful person you are.

    Tina & Lauren Trevarthen

  61. Great article! I’ve learned firsthand how Jimmy’s heart is filled with nothing but CHARITY toward these at-risk teens/young adults that he’s representing on the “Meet Me Halfway” campaign. To him, it’s personal. He’s lived it, survived it & been fortunate enough to prosper on the other side. Jimmy gives endless thanks to the elderly couple (the Costner’s) who took it upon themselves to completely transform his world and graciously provide some much-needed stability and a warm place for him to call “home”. Even still, he knows how to abase as well as to abound; never letting pride get in the way. Although (literally speaking) this walk is set to end in Phoenix, rest assured, it’s a lifelong mission for Jimmy Wayne… and he’s inspiring countless numbers of folks (me included) along the way! ~God bless you, brother! PS: Enjoy your week of REST. You deserve it. [Poor guy... you all should see his blister-covered feet. Ouch!!] It’s OKAY to pamper yourself & ELEVATE ‘dem puppies for a few days, JW! *SMILES* ‘Tweet’ U soon.

  62. Jimmy Wayne is a product of living outside. He has taken what was a horrible part of his early life and, instead of forgetting it, he has brought it out into the open and shared his story with as many people as he could. He did not throw a “pity party”, but instead inspired me and so many others with his story of transformation. He deserves everything that life has to offer him right now, but he has put everything on hold in order to spread this message of children aging out of the foster care system without a place to go. God Bless You, Jimmy! And, thank you Ladies Home Journal for bringing his story to print.

  63. By the way, I know the wonderful lady (one of Jimmy’s fans) who made the arrangements for the delivery of the cake on Jimmy’s birthday. You may have been present when it was delivered, but you should not take credit for the delivery of the cake when it was one of Jimmy’s fans who did the leg work.

  64. Thank you for this wonderful article about Jimmy Wayne and his Meet Me Halfway walk. I’ve been a fan of Jimmy’s music for years, but I’m an even bigger fan of Jimmy the person. After hearing him share his story so openly over the years I know how important this cause is to him. I know he truly means every word he’s said about the “gift” that was given to him and his wish to give back. He has opened many eyes to this cause and will continue to do so. As a result many teens will be helped! Thank you Jimmy, for thinking on such a “grand scale” and inspiring more people than you will ever know to help others.

  65. Wonderful article! Thank you for sharing Jimmy’s story and helping to spread awareness!

  66. Thank you, LHJ for supporting MMH and Jimmy Wayne. What I would love for everyone to realize that, while Jimmy’s story regarding his childhood days is tragic and angering, it is not rare. There are lots of Jimmys in our country, too many. Jimmy is the man he is today because he was given the chance to shine. As there are lots of Jimmys in the country, there are also many Costners (the family who took Jimmy in at age 16). We need to find them! I am not asking everyone to adopt a child or become a foster parent if that does not work for your family. What I want is for people to care, and tell at least one other person what you have read here today, tell one other person about MMH and ask them to do the same. Go to your local Family Services office and find out what you CAN do. At the very least, just spread the word.
    Jimmy Wayne is a humble, grateful and inspiring man. But he will be the first to tell you he may not be if one couple had not cared and given him a home and love. There are so many more like him who need our help.
    Just tell one person- send a link to this story, to or to!

  67. I am so proud of Jimmy Wayne for what he’s become and for what he is trying to do for Homeless teens. He is one of a kind and may God Bless him. Thank you for sharing his story.

  68. To Linda, sorry if my wording was unclear. Was in no way trying to take credit for the cake. Absolutely was sent by some of his fans, who obviously are part of a huge, active and well deserved fan base. Give ‘em a proper shout out if you’d like, and I’ll tweak the wording to make it clearer!

  69. I enjoyed your article about Jimmy Wayne. My husband & I have supported Jimmy since the beginning of his career. He is an amazing artist and a caring, inspiring person. We were fortunate enough to spend a ‘MMH’ day with him when he walked through Oklahoma. Jimmy is one of the most focused guys I’ve ever known. It was evident that day that Jimmy truly believes in what he’s doing and wants to make a difference in this world…and he is making a difference. I continue to be amazed by Jimmy’s giving spirit and his willingness to help kids. His story needs to be told…thank you very much for doing that.

  70. Jimmy Wayne rocks and has the support and love of many in this project he is doing to raise awareness!

  71. I so enjoyed the article. Jimmy Wayne is an extremely talented man with a big, caring heart. May God bless him on his long journey.

  72. What an amazing person. Keep up the great work Jimmy! You are raising awareness!

  73. What a beautiful soul this man has. He is doing a wonderful thing. And on a different note, he is going to make some woman very lucky one day. What a wonderful husband and father he will be. This man deserves the moon and stars!

  74. I piced up Jimmy Waynes first cd in a gift shop in Nashville some years ago, I hadnt heard of him at that time. His songs touched my heart so that I have keept up with him. I am very proud of him for taking the time out of his own personal life to alow God to use him to help the children whoes lives so depend it.

  75. I have met Jimmy a couple times since he has been on this walk. AMAZING man. He has taken a negative childhood and become such an amazing, kind and generous adult. Jimmy is proof how an investment into a child can make a difference. He makes everyone around him want to become better people. I know Bea and Russell Costner are looking down from Heaven smiling and proud to know that he is such an inspiration to so many. Not many people much less celebrities would make the sacrifices that he has to do this walk. It says so much for his character. GOD BLESS HIM.

  76. Jimmy is bringing the sadly neglected issue of teen and young adulthood homelessness to the forefront. The adage, “It takes a community to raise a child”, would leave a bitter taste in many a forgotten youth. Organizations and citizens, alike, should explore ways to better equip the aging-out youth with education and support for a viable future. MeetMeHalfway, is an outstanding proclamation for change. Let many follow in Jimmy’s Wayne’s footsteps!

  77. U rock Jimmy and even though im only 13 u inspire me to try everythin to accoplish my dreams!!U are amazing I LUV YA (as like fried haha)

  78. Great article, LHJ! Jimmy’s walk inspires me to do more here at home for the agencies we already have in place. Am doing some fundraising for them and will soon volunteer for them. That is the biggest step for me, giving my self, my time, to develop a relationship with these young adults so that they know they have someone they can trust. I encourage everyone to look around your state and your community to see what opportunities are there. It doesn’t have to be through a formal agency but if you know some youth in need, see what you can do to help him or her. Also, look at your state laws and see what needs to happen in order to stretch out the age limitations on assistance to those no longer in foster care. God bless Jimmy for listening to the voice within leading him to take on this adventure and using his past to reach out to others today. We can all make a difference when we join together to make it happen! And God bless all who take up the challenge now and when Jimmy is done walking.

  79. I’m not sure I’ve ever known a person who gives more of himself than Jimmy Wayne. Each day I’ve followed him the past year I find myself surprised over and over again. He is a person who has the most grateful heart, positive spirit and creative mind. Giving, kindness, and caring is offered to all. I am proud to support him and MMH!

  80. Jimmy Wayne is amazing! A heart of Gold, One of Gods angels.He will have many stars on his crown. I follow him daily, I get every tweet,and acually cant wait to see him share with all of us, his life struggles.Them struggles made a very fine, strong man out of him, and now he is giving back! I Haven’t had the honor of meeting Jimmy yet, But that is my goal! I support MMH and its a honor! I think Jimmy has opened so many eyes and hearts out there in a way he cant even imagine. 1 more state!!!! JIMMY,YOUR THE BEST! DONT EVER CHANGE!! Cathey Tn

  81. I was’nt a big fan of Jimmy,but I did love “I love you this much” and “Sara Smile”..What caught my eye was in Dec 2009 when he was going to walk for Meet Me Halfway..Were he had been,and were he is today.His heart went out for the teens..I heard
    in his voice.. This guy was a real stuff..It hit so hit home..My 8 sisters, 5 brothers,and
    I were pull away from each other.. Foster care, adoption,and some family..When hear their stories I just cry.. Thank God! We know where each other are at.. I’ve met Jimmy twice..He a wonderful man!
    And Jimmy Thank You!! for being a that person that cares..My Daughter Selina, plays your CD over and over..She was so happy that she met the
    man that walk halfway across America..We love you Jimmy!!

  82. Jimmy,
    You have a big heart and you’re doing a great thing for these kids. The best part is that you have inspired the rest of us to give. Together we can make sure foster children never have to end up on the streets. They deserve a chance. They deserve a happy life.

  83. I had never heard of Jimmy Wayne before his appearance on Live From Daryl’s House, Daryl Hall’s monthly webcast. I’ve been a long time Daryl Hall fan, since the 1970′s.

    I watched Jimmy Wayne’s appearance on that show. He definitely made such a lasting impression on me that I could not get what he said about his background out of my mind.

    I started reading everything I could on him, his background, music, etc. I also purchased all 3 of his cd’s, which is rare for me to buy anything from an artist Iam not that familiar with. Well, I love his music, but even more than that Iam so impressed with Jimmy Wayne as a person.

    His big heart, his integrity, his ethics, well I sure wish the best for him. Alot of what I read about him really parallels my own life growing up, and the person I became.

    I have been keeping up with his journey from Nashville to Phoenix. I have no doubt he will make it, not just to Phoenix, but to having a wonderful life. Right now I can’t think of another person who deserves it more.

    His heart is definitely in the right place, and so are his priorities. He is truly inspiring!!

    I wish you true happiness in life Jimmy. We need more people like you!! Think of how this world would be if there was, but then that is what makes Jimmy Wayne so special, so unique.

    I will continue to follow his walk, as well as his career, to show my support. I think he’s worth it. Iam so glad I found out about him!!

  84. Jimmy is such a strong person who just always has such a great smile on his face..He seems as if he is always a happy person! The lord has his arms around him and”blesses”him everyday & keepN him that great,& strong person that he is!!! The [costners] are watchin from above and they have happy smiling faces apon him! Jimmy IS loved and u r a great person for not doing drugs,drinking,& the partyN thing.That is a great thing he didn’t do which showed him as a strong person at a young age! JIMMY U ARE AN ANGEL IN DISGUISE! <3

  85. Jimmy is an inspiration! I’ve watched his progress every day this year on Twitter and am just amazed at his passion, energy, & heart. He just cares about the kids. I live in Phoenix, Arizona where we have a huge amount of homeless children (15,000), so to see someone famous willing to help out…to walk halfway across the country, to sleep outside even — it really means so much. All children should have homes. We shouldn’t abandon them just because they “age out.”

  86. In his music, Jimmy Wayne is an authentic chef in an industry where there’s a McDonald’s on every other corner.

    In his convictions, Jimmy doesn’t just film a 30-second PSA thinking that lending his name alone is enough to give to a cause. He walks over 1700 miles and has the blisters on his feet to prove it.

    Country music fans should take a deeper look at the artist, and Americans should emulate his style of philantropy.

  87. For those of you who don’t know Jimmy Wayne, you don’t know what you are missing. He is a sweetheart who has never forgot where he came from. Down to earth, sweet, kindhearted and fun. (Just to name a few.) Jimmy is always trying to help out others, even at his own expense, (his poor feet proves that). I have had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy 4 times, and I treasure each of them. (I hope to get the change again.) Spread the work about MMH and what Jimmy is doing. IT’S FOR THE KIDS, OUR FUTURE!!

  88. Jimmy Wayne is my family’s and my favorite singer! We can’t get enough of his beautiful soulful voice, spectacular guitar playing and deeply moving song writing! We have all 3 of his albums and have played them so much, we’ve actually worn them out and have replaced them several times! And Jimmy Wayne, the man, is someone we admire and respect for his integrity, compassionate heart and good deeds – his latest undertaking being so momentous in scope that we are awed! Jimmy’s Project #MeetMeHalfway Walk from Nashville, TN all the way to Phoenix, AZ, to support and draw attention to the tragic plight of all the homeless youth in our great country has amazed us and inspired us no end! And best of all, Jimmy’s extraordinarily difficult walk IS having an impact and making a positive difference already! People, organizations & government leaders are hearing about the problem, learning the facts and opening their hearts to help! Jimmy Wayne is a good man in the truest sense of the word, one who not only talks the talk but walks the walk…literally! Jimmy, thank you for being you and for all you do! You are our hero and we love you!!!

  89. What Jimmy is amazing. He has made me more aware of homeless and foster children. Its so cool that he would go to that extreme to help others with his career booming. I can’t see many others who would be that selfless.. I really respect him and support him in all that he does. I have been a fan of his from the start. He has an amazing strong voice and great meaningful songs. There’s nothing but good things to say about him!

  90. We met Jimmy last Oct at a concert. Enjoyed his music before we met him, but once we met him and realized the story behind the songs, we just loved him even more. It’s been a long time since someone has actually inspired me! We could all use some inspiration and focus on what is important these days. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the everyday nonsense of our society! We all need to wake up and inspire everyone around us! Imagine if we all lived like that! God Bless you Jimmy and special blessings on your feet!

  91. What an inspiration Jimmy is to us! I saw him the first time in Mar. of ’07. Have seen him twice since then, and we finally got to meet him last Sat., Apr. 10th, in Huntsville, AL. Such an amazing guy! My husband (who has seen him 4 times) and I are so excited about our vacation next month and our plans of going out and walking with Jimmy!! He has used his experiences as a teen and turned them into a positive in his life and now the lives of others. He’s bringing awareness to a situation our kids should never have to face! If we have heat, a/c, a roof over our heads, and love in our home, then we are all truly blessed! It doesn’t just take money to help out, these kids also need time and attention. Jimmy is giving all of this, as well. He isn’t just talking, he’s living, walking and talking the story. He has a pure heart and a precious soul. Jimmy, we thank you for what you are doing and support you 110%!

    Enjoy your break and heal up! You can then come back refreshed and FOCUSed! Love you and keep trekking! We’ll see you again soon!

  92. Thank yall so much for the great story!
    I have been fortunate enough to have talked with Jimmy on several occasions.
    He has integrity,and amazing character, he is truely one of a kind.
    I support project meetmehalfway 100%
    These kids need our help badly, please reach out to one of these kids and make a difference in their life, we need to be their voice, because they are not often heard.

  93. Thanks for writing such a great article about Jimmy to help bring more awareness about our issue most people dont know about. Nice to finally read something good in the media. :)

  94. What Jimmy is doing is awsome. I have been following him since he started hisr journey. My 3 yr.old daughter askes every couple days “where’s Jimmy Wayne now mommy”. We are all thinking of you Jimmy and you are in our pryaers!

  95. I was fortunate enough to be able to be at the Monroe Harding launch of MMH and walk the first mile with Jimmy. His life story (still unfolding) is one of the most inspirational ones ever. His strength of character is awesome. He has come through the fires a tempered and tested man. Bea and Russell would be busting their buttons to see the man he has become. In a world filled with heartaches, corruption, greed and hate, Jimmy brings us hope, possibilities and evidence that doing good is a good thing to do. Praying for every good thing to happen in your life!! Thank you for inspiring us to reach higher and expect more of ourselves.

  96. Being a Foster Parent I know how important it is for children to have a loving home and support to get them through the tough times the teen years can be. God has truly blessed us with Jimmy Wayne. It is so awesome to see this man make it through those tough times and never once forget where he came from. He is truly awesome and I know God will keep him safe on his long journey!

  97. Thank you for the excellent article! I’ve known Jimmy for seven years, doesn’t seem that long. :)

    Sometimes, people might wonder ‘is Jimmy the real deal?’ – yes, he most certainly is. He’s done lots of things for kids in need. He doesn’t talk about them. So I will. He doesn’t know I know this, but I’ll share this one I witnessed before he was famous…

    Years ago, he and a law enforcement friend spent $800 of their own money to buy new tires for an at risk youth. The tires were completely bald, and the youth was driving in winter at night on these tires in order to keep her minimum wage job. She needed it to survive on her own, to have food. They bought the very best tires for that beat up car so she would be safe.

    This is only one of the many things I’ve seen Jimmy do for youth at risk.

  98. I’m a huge fan of Jimmy’s and gave to the organization because of what he is doing. I hope someday I can help the cause more but I know every little bit helps. I just pray great things for Jimmy and his career.

  99. Love Jimmy Wayne!!!!!!!! His music is always heartfelt and it tells a story. He has been in the shoes of these foster and homeless people so he knows their needs and wants. Jimmy is very inspiring!!! I really hope I can be at the finish line when you cross it in Pheonix!!!!!!!! But just know that you are in the hearts of all your fans. Take Care Jimmy Your home folks in NC are praying for you!!!!!!!!!

  100. I’ve been a fan of Jimmy Wayne’s for many years but didn’t know what a great person he was until the last couple of years, that’s what the power of facebook, myspace and twitter has done for him :) I truly admire all that he has done and is currently doing for the youth of our country. It’s just amazing that he’s doing all of this so modestly. He is such a special person and quite talented too. Thank you Jimmy for giving back ~ more people need to take notice of your example.

  101. Jimmy came out to El Ranchito de los Ninos Children’s Home in Los Lunas, NM last year. He spent the whole day with the kids. They all love him and are cheering him on as he makes his way to Phoenix!

    What an inspiration Jimmy is to so many troubled and disadvantaged youth in this country!! He has given our “kids” at El Ranchito courage to face adult life — helping them realize that life does not have to be what is handed to them as youth — but that they have options to succeed in life!

    I wonder if Russell and Beatrice Costner realize the “ripple affect” of their good works has indirectly — through Jimmy reached twelve wonderful children in the small town of Los Lunas, NM?!?

    Hooray, Jimmy — we are “meeting you all the way!!!” The “kids” at El Ranchito de los Ninos.

  102. Thanks for such a wonderful article. I have been a huge fan of Jimmy since his first cd and have had the pleasure of meeting him many times after his shows. Jimmy is a true inspiration and such an awesome talent. It has truly been an honor to follow him on his journey. We love you Jimmy–stay safe out there and thank you for all you are and all you do!!!!

    “Be the change you wish to see in the world”–Gandhi

  103. Great article on Jimmy. I met Jimmy when I was in Nashville Oct 09 after he played at the Grand Ole Opry. He had some of his fans meet him at the local restaurant in Nashville. He was real. And his bandmates were great too. Wish I could be in Phoenix when he arrives. Take care and be safe Jimmy.

  104. First off, thanks to LHJ for bringing attention to this wonderful man and his mission. I have been a fan of Jimmy’s since 2003 when his first CD came out and have loved following his career.

    It is, in part, because of his success and notoriety as a country artist that he is able to bring awareness to this issue of homeless teens. Jimmy has made huge personal sacrifices to achieve the level of success he has in the music business. Now he is taking a huge amount of time away from that business and his livelihood to “Walk Halfway Across America”. So, not only do we need to support his MMH campaign, but we also need to continue to support his music, so that he can continue his career so that he can continue his charity work! They go hand in hand. I would strongly recommend that not only should we do what we can for the MMH project, but also buy his CD’s, go to his shows, request his songs on the radio and invite others to listen to his music! We have to help keep Jimmy’s music career alive during this time that he is focusing on others and not himself. He is so musically gifted and I want to hear more music that this wonderful, inspirational man has to offer!

  105. I work for Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceutical and below is the travel story I submitted to our Newsletter to help get the word out.

    I have to start off saying I have traveled for

    On February 11th of this year I was traveling back to Arkansas from a close out visit in Columbus, Ohio and on the Memphis to Little Rock leg, I met what I consider a famous person. The flight attendant asked the person with the guitar to push their call light and the young man across the aisle from me did so. The flight attendant explained to him his guitar was in the closet at the front of the plane. He looked very familiar to me but it took a minute for me to realize he was the country music singer that had the song Sara Smile out on the country music radio stations. I had seen his music video on CMT recently but being so good at remembering names, I could not come up with his name. The door to the airplane was still open and I started texting my 20 year old daughter to try to come up with his name but I had to turn off my cell phone before I could get the information. I just decided to ask him if he was the singer that had the song Sara Smile on the radio and he said yes. I then asked him his name and he said Jimmy Wayne. I told him I really like the song and thought it was a very good remake of the Hall and Oats song. We struck up a conversation and I asked why he was headed to Little Rock, Arkansas. January 1st he started walking from Nashville, TN to Phoenix, Az to raise awareness for foster kids who come out of the system at 18 years of age and become homeless because they have no families and no place to go. He was a foster kid but was taken in by an elderly family when he was 16 years old. He had walked as far as a small town outside of Hot Springs called Pearcy but had to stop and travel to Akron, OH for a concert and was on his way back to start again.

    When the plane landed he called my daughter and spoke with her because I had told him she was a country music fan. He told her she could come and walk with him if she wanted to. He said she could just call him and he would let her know where he was at the time and they could meet up. On Saturday, February 13th, we got up and headed to a small Arkansas town called Black Springs so my daughter could walk with Jimmy Wayne. As you get into the back roads of Arkansas there is no cell phone service and that was the case for Black Springs. Meghan and I just drove until we found the guy dressed in ski clothes carry ski poles walking in the middle of nowhere Arkansas. Meghan walked with Jimmy for about 2 hours and he shared about his live and his cause. He told her he didn’t want to stand before God someday and him say I gave you talent, a story and a forum to make a difference what did you do with it and not have an answer.

    So if you have some spare time check out Jimmy’s story and cause at His story is inspiring and the website has information on how you can meet him halfway.

  106. I met Jimmy Wayne in Texas on a Monday morning, just as we was getting ready to head out and start his walk for the day. I had helped drive my Son, Zach, down from Kansas City to hook up with Jimmy. Zach spent four days of his spring break from college walking through northern Texas with Jimmy. My first impression of Jimmy when meeting him was “this is a big fun-loving kid on a mission”. I liked him instantly, and felt comfortable with dumping my son off to walk the highways of the country with him. Zach’s story is told elsewhere, but his time with Jimmy was a gift, for both of them, I think. Jimmy is a wonderful man and quite a character, and what you see is what you get. He’s not hiding anything. As genuine as can be. I know he’s in New Mexico now, and still has a long way to go, but he’s dedicated to his cause and will get ‘er done. Best wishes, Jimmy!

  107. Thanks for the beautiful article. I met Jimmy back in 2003. He touched my heart then and has been an inspiration to me since. You can look into his big brown eyes and see the compassion he has for children/youth in his soul. I have had many experiences taking young people into my home when their mother had locked them out of the house or just didn’t want them around. Even today I have many of them to come to me and tell me they are who they are today because of me…so I know exactly what Jimmy lived through. He is a very strong and determined young man that wants to make a difference. Love his music/songwriting talents!

  108. I met Jimmy in 2003 I was working at a local radio station he was there to talk about his new cd. I had not had a good relationship with my ex husband and there was some evidence of that Jimmy saw. He looked at me and said you really don’t need to take that, I thought what does he know, it turned out a lot. Jimmy grew up with abuse and through us talking I realized I could get out of where I was at. I am now on my own, finished my college degree, raised my children well. My life is much healthier and complete since I met Jimmy , he is the real deal caring,understanding,and giving. God Bless you Jimmy. Most of all Thank you

  109. Congrats to Jimmy Wayne for his successful partnership with Bryan Foods, which raised 2500 pounds of food to Nashville’s Second Harvest Food Bank. I’ll be volunteering at Second Harvest next on behalf of LHJ. Any support for our online food drive greatly appreciated:

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