EDITORIAL: Trek raises money for Wallingford homeless shelter

EDITORIAL: Trek raises money for Wallingford homeless shelter

It’s always gratifying to see a private citizen step up to support a good cause.

In this case we’re thinking of Chris Ulbrich, CEO of Ulbrich Stainless Steel and Special Metals Inc., who hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail in July to raise money for the Wallingford Emergency Shelter, which is operated by Columbus House. The "Ulbrich Trek to End Homelessness" campaign raised $34,419 for the shelter, of which $10,000 came out of Ulbrich’s own pocket.

For 25 days he covered about 185 miles of the trail — on foot, uphill and down, carrying a heavy pack in the summer heat, with the occasional downpour and, we have to assume, plenty of bugs — all to support the shelter.

The Wallingford Emergency Shelter comprises four two-bedroom townhouses for families who are experiencing homelessness and a seasonal shelter for single adults that’s open during the coldest months of the year. The recommended first step for someone seeking a shelter is to contact the Connecticut Department of Housing’s Coordinated Access Networks by dialing 211.

“It's not easy to trek in the middle of summer,” said Columbus House Chief Development Officer John Brooks. “Chris did it and he inspired a lot of people.”

It’s also gratifying to see a town the size of Wallingford continues to provide a shelter. They are more typically located in the larger cities, and they vary widely in purpose, policies and capacity. Many require referrals.

"We did good," Ulbrich said of his fund-raising effort.

True. And so did the Wallingford community.