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Deb Walters and Kayak for Safe Passage Kids expedition selected as Down East editors’ pick for Best Adventurer on a Mission


YARMOUTH, Maine (June 29, 2015) – 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 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.
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. With this Kayak for Safe Passage Kids Expedition, her goal was to raise awareness and funds for nonprofit Safe Passage, benefiting children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump. She made it 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.”
The full list of “Best of Maine” winners appears in the July issue of Down East, on newsstands now.
About Safe Passage:
The nonprofit organization was founded in 1999 by social worker and Yarmouth, Maine, native Hanley Denning, who died in a car crash in 2007. Safe Passage serves about 600 children ages 2 to 21 from 300 families around the Guatemala City garbage dump. More than 80 volunteers serve there each year, half from Guatemala. Donors support Safe Passage from every continent except Antarctica.
About Down East Enterprise:
Down East Enterprise, Inc., is a multimedia company based in Camden, Maine. The company’s flagship publication, Down East: The Magazine of Maine, is the largest paid-circulation magazine dedicated to the Pine Tree State. For six decades, Down East has been the authority on Maine, and today continues to capture the reader’s attention with an insider look at contemporary life in Maine. A digital version of the magazine is available online at People who love Maine love Down East.
Down East currently publishes Shooting Sportsman, the world’s largest magazine dedicated to wingshooting and fine guns, and Fly Rod & Reel, a quarterly publication for fly-fishing enthusiasts, in addition to Down East. Down East also produces websites, mobile apps, and video programming via the Down East Channel. In 2015, Down East entered into a cooperative publishing agreement with Dispatch magazine. Dispatch is the go-to magazine for Maine and Coastal New Hampshire’s buzz-worthy events, music reviews and all things film, food, style, nightlife, recreation, and more.