'Sweet Baby James' leads Quincy man to trek from Stockbridge to Boston to fight domestic violence

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"Now the first of December was covered with snow, and so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston," sings James Taylor in one of his classic songs, "Sweet Baby James."

David Spillane won't be walking the turnpike, but the song nonetheless is a key inspiration behind his walk from Stockbridge to Boston.

Spillane, a Quincy resident, is raising money for the Boston-based domestic violence support organization the Elizabeth Stone House through his walk, which he officially started Thursday morning from the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge.

Spillane, a long-distance walker and a James Taylor fan, was at a fundraiser for the Elizabeth Stone House at a friend's invitation in late 2015 when he was touched by the importance of the organization. The Elizabeth Stone House offers support for women, and their children, who have suffered from mental illness and trauma from domestic abuse and are working to rebuild their lives. The organization, which was founded in 1974, provides help with housing, financial skills training and emotional support.

"It just struck me as something really special," he said. "I was just sitting there, thinking about what I could do."

The song "Sweet Baby James" — his favorite of Taylor's songs — came to mind.

"I thought — I'll walk from Stockbridge to Boston," he said.

He wanted to do the walk earlier, but an injury sidelined him.

He has been training for the undertaking since April, walking about 8 to 12 miles a day, five days a week.

Spillane has raised a little over $30,000 toward his fundraising goal of $50,000, through donations from about 120 people and from businesses.

If you are interested in contributing to Spillane's effort to raise money for the Elizabeth Stone House, go to:

http://walkingforelizabethstonehouse.com/details.asp.

"I'm just so moved by the generosity of people," he said. "I can't put it in words. It's just so beautiful."

It's a cold time of year for a long walk in New England, but Spillane said he thinks of the trip as his way of giving thanks.

The nine-day walk will take him primarily by way of Route 20 and Route 9.

If all goes according to plan, he'll be entering Boston on Dec. 1 — not covered in snow, he hopes.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@berkshireeagle.com, at @BE_pleboeuf on Twitter and 413-496-6247.


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