German man with ties to Odessa walks all the way around the city

ODESSA, Tx (KOSA) -- A 70-year-old German man with ties to Odessa walked all the way around the city on Saturday, raising money for a cause his family held dear.

Alexander Raeder has always thought of Odessa as his second home. His mother Hermine was married to former mayor Dan Hemphill, and together the couple gave their time and money to children’s organizations in Odessa.

“I think it’s a good idea to support young people,” Raeder said. “Because young people are the future of every country. Not only in America but in every county, it’s the same.”

Saturday’s walk was a memorial for his mother and step-father, and a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club.

Starting at the MCM Elegante Hotel, Raeder walked all the way around the city on Loop 338, a 34-mile trek that took about nine hours to complete.

“One and a half years ago a friend asked me to make a walk about 64 miles, that’s 100 kilometers in Germany,” Raeder said. “I decided to do it and it was fun, so I decided to do it here in Odessa also.”

To hold the supplies for his journey, Raeder wore a backpack on his stomach, resembling a large belly.

“I want to get all the things very rapidly, and don’t want to pull off the back pack,” Raeder said. “So it’s much easier. I can take the bananas out and everything I need. It looks a bit strange, I know that.”

The Texas heat and the traffic zipping by weren’t enough to stop Raeder from trying to bring attention and money to the Boys and Girls Club.

“I don’t think the sights are so beautiful on 338, that’s my opinion,” Raeder said. “But that’s not a problem. I think I will see a lot of cars and drivers. Maybe they will wave and ask what’s happening. They’re very friendly and I think it will be a good walk.”