Issaquah chaplain walks from Spokane to Seattle

July 18, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 10:30 a.m. July 18, 2012

The chaplain at the Providence Marianwood assisted-care facility, Klahanie resident Johann Neethling, embarked Wednesday on a 300-mile trek from Spokane to Seattle — on foot.

Motivated by a desire to maintain and improve fitness after surviving a heart attack, Neethling is also using the walk as a fundraiser to benefit the residents and staff at Providence Marianwood.

Neethling, 65, started the journey at Providence St. Joseph Care Center in Spokane early Wednesday and plans to arrive at Providence Marianwood in Issaquah on the afternoon of July 25.

The route across the Evergreen State traverses verdant farmland and rugged scablands, fruit orchards and the Cascades.

Neethling’s wife, Anne, clinical manager of Swedish/Issaquah’s emergency department, and his daughter, Maria Henderson, plan to accompany him on the trip. Anne Neethling is driving the support vehicle and Henderson plans to walk with her father.

“Johann is a great inspiration to all of us at Marianwood,” Arlene Carter, Providence Marianwood Foundation executive director, said in a statement. “As chaplain, he is a valued member of the care team at Marianwood every day. This walk proves his dedication to the elderly residents at Marianwood and to his colleagues who put in long days in sometimes stressful circumstances. That’s a nice win-win!”

Neethling started as the chaplain at Providence Marianwood since shortly after suffering a heart attack in 2007. Physicians convinced Neethling to make some changes to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Since then, Neethling lost 50 pounds and developed a love of fitness, especially walking. In June, Neethling walked from Issaquah to Henderson’s home on Whidbey Island. He also walks from home in Klahanie to Providence Marianwood.

Neethling encourages donations to the Marianwood Bistro Fund. The money is to help fund a small bistro and gathering space within Marianwood for residents and staff. Donate at or by calling 425-391-2895.

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