Westward ho

“I told my friend, ‘I’m going to walk across the country to change lives with this pole.’” For Armand Young, 49, of Charles Town, W.Va., that was in 2007. He ended up walking from Santa Monica Pier in his native California to Ground Zero in New York, lugging “The 9/11 Pole of Human Kindness” with him. Now he’s walking back to California, encouraging random acts of kindness along the way. Young’s path brought him through Jefferson this week, where the Super 8 gave him a complimentary room. The pole, adorned with flags and the signatures of everyone from regular citizens and 9/11 survivors and first responders to Merle Haggard, Rob Zombie and Oprah, now weighs about 60 pounds. The trip hasn’t always been easy. “I’ve been shot at twice,” Young said. “I’ve been robbed. Chased by a bear.” Then there was the brown recluse spider that bit him in Nebraska.

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