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Bend man chooses to walk barefoot as a message


(Update: Correcting man’s last name)

For some people in Bend, walking around barefoot as winter approaches is their harsh reality. One man will be doing it for the next six weeks by choice.

His name is Eric Corrales. The 24-year-old actually has been living a lifestyle without shoes and socks for years.

In college, he said, he thought walking around barefoot would enhance his parkour skills. When winter rolled around and his feet got cold, he would go to his car or his house to warm up. He knows some people don’t have the same luxury. That’s why this year, he started “Barefoot for Soles.”

“Not everyone has that proper footwear,” Corrales said Monday. “Not everyone has socks that are going to warm their feet. Me doing this is so outrageous that it’s going to gravitate attention.”

Walking around with bare feet as the weather turns cold will surely catch people’s eyes, but so will the shirt he plans on wearing, which reads, “Ask me why I am barefoot!”

Corrales said he expects people will have a variety of reactions when they see what he’s doing, and he wants to embrace them all.

“Everybody’s always thought I was crazy in some way,” Corrales said. “But I’m actually thoroughly enjoying the fact that you can think I’m crazy, and I can be crazy for helping people.”

He said he wants to help in the sort of situations faced by Kim DeBraal, whose 32-year old son, Michael, became homeless a couple of years ago.

DeBraal’s son was recently diagnosed with trench foot, which can develop from prolonged exposure to cold and damp conditions. Doctors called DeBraal a few weeks ago to tell her that her son may die from the infection. That’s why she almost broke into tears when she heard about what Corrales was doing.

“This man must have a really big heart, and really care about people,” DeBraal said. “And that makes me feel really happy, knowing that our community is all pulling together and helping people.”

NewsChannel 21 also spoke with a man who has been homeless for six years to find out if a fresh pair of socks was something people in his situation could really use.

“This time of year, it is so important,” Kevin Johnson said. “Especially to have enough socks, so they can keep changing them every day. Because they get wet, and that’s not good for the feet, and they can get some serious health problems.”

Corrales said he hopes his actions will have a lasting impact on those in need.

He will have a drop box for shoes and socks outside his parkour gym on Bridgeford Boulevard. He plans on dropping off all donations at homeless shelters in the Bend community.

For more information on what Corrales is doing, visit his Facebook page:

Also, Kim DeBraal will be kicking off her third annual sock drive for addicts & homeless on Monday, Nov. 15 at her Tropical Beach Tanning & Wellness salon.

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