Mayor O'Neal Walks to Washington to Save Rural Hospitals & Call for Medicaid Expansion

(WASHINGTON DC) —  On Monday "Walking Mayor" Adam O'Neal (R) will complete his 273-mile march from his home town of Belhaven, NC to the U.S. Capitol Building in the name of Medicaid expansion, endangered rural hospitals, and the Pungo District Hospital, which closed on July 1 endangering over 20K people in his community.

Vidant Health, Inc., which had built a near monopoly in eastern North Carolina, pulling in over $100 million a year with $550 million in the bank, purchased and closed Belhaven’s Pungo District Hospital as part of a regional business model that involves transporting Medicare patients to their profit center in Greenville, NC, while avoiding the costs of operating hospitals with emergency rooms. O’Neal calls this business model immoral, and points out in the United States, more rural hospitals have closed in the past 2 years than in the previous 15. has posted a detailed map for July 28, 2014, the final morning of the 15-day journey. The 3.8 mile walk will begin at Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, VA, just north of Reagan National Airport at 7:30 AM, and arrive at the U.S. Capitol at 11:10 AM where a rally and press conference begins at 11:30.

Rev. Dr. William Barber, leader of the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina, gave the blessing prior to the start of the Mayor’s march, and he will be there to greet him when he arrives. Rev. Barber and Mayor O’Neal, who joined forces to fight the hospital closing last December, will be the featured speakers at the 11:30 am Moral Monday rally.

Two busses filled with supporters will have left Belhaven, NC at midnight and arrived at dawn. Many will embark with the Mayor at 7:30, and others including Rep.  will join him along the route, which takes them across the 14th Street Bridge to the Jefferson Memorial (8:10 AM), the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (8:40 AM), the Lincoln Memorial (9.05 AM), the Washington Monument (9:45 AM), the Grant Memorial on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol (10:45 AM), and finally Upper Senate Park (on the eastern, Supreme Court side of the Capitol Building) for the rally at 11:10 AM. 

For the latest updates on the walk go to Walk with Adam page or follow @mayoroneal on Twitter.


Moral Mondays & Save Our Hospital Rally/Press Conference at US Capitol on July 28, 11:30am.


Last 5 Miles with "Walking Mayor" to US Capitol on July 28


273 miles/90+ hours/14 days

July 14-July 28

Starts at 9am in front of Pungo Hospital in Belhaven, NC on July 14

Ends in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC at 11:30 on July 28


On Monday, July 14th, Adam O'Neal, the Republican Mayor of Belhaven, NC, will begin a 14-day, 273-mile walk to the White House where he will ask Congress and President Obama for help with a healthcare crisis that has already caused loss of life, and threatened the well being of thousands in his rural community.


When Vidant Health, Inc. purchased and announced the closure of Vidant Pungo Hospital, Mayor O’Neal emerged as a fiery advocate for the hospital, and the 20,000 people who depend on it. O’Neal is walking to push for the re-opening of Belhaven’s hospital, which he believes was closed illegally on July 1, 2014. Thousands in his region must now travel as many as 84 miles to receive critical care.

The mayor will carry with him the story Portia Gibbs, 48, the first person to die for lack of emergency care since the hospital’s closing. Her husband and her children will be there on Monday at 9 a.m. to see the mayor off.

Moral Monday leader and President of NC NAACP, Rev. Dr. William Barber, will say a prayer to bless the mayor’s journey, and join him for the ceremonial first leg on Monday in Belhaven, and on Tuesday in Plymouth, NC — Barber’s home town.  


O'Neal will make stops in towns and cities to carry his message to the people on his route and across the nation, especially in rural areas, who are affected by failing healthcare systems. Expanding Medicaid, and embracing a program in the Affordable Care Act called Accountable Care Organizations are two ways to prevent this deadly trend.

Adam's Scheduled Stops from Belhaven to Washington, DC

(schedule may change so follow @mayoroneal on Twitter or check here for updates)

Belhaven, NC (July 14 - kickoff at 9am in front of Pungo Hospital)
Plymouth, NC (July 15 - meeting up with Rev. William Barber around noon)
Ahoskie, NC (July 16)
Murfreesboro (July 18) 
Yale, VA (July 19)
Petersburg, VA (July 21 - Noon lunch at Croaker's Spot with supporters & press)
Richmond, VA (July 22 - 2pm rally at the Capitol at the Bell Tower)
Ashland, VA (July 23)
Fredericksburg, VA (July 25)
Woodbridge, VA (July 26) - Rally at 6pm at Greater Prince William Community Health Center 
Alexandria, VA (July 27) - 5pm - Mayor Alexandria welcome "Walking Mayor 
Washington, DC (July 28 - 11:30am Rally at the US Capitol at Upper Senate Park

For more information on organizing events: Annabel Park (252) 945-3340 / 


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Showing 14 reactions

commented 2014-07-31 03:50:36 -0700 · Flag
I am curious why a tiny rural community of 20,000 deserves a hospital paid for by tax payers? Why doesn’t some enterprising resident create a cooperative or medical outpatient facility?

It is odd how Parasites never want to solve problems they just want to be cared for by disinterested parties.

A beggars march… how quixotic and effective.
commented 2014-07-25 17:45:29 -0700 · Flag
Great day,Mayor with you and Bob, Arthur and Pam. Curt and I were proud to walk with you for this critical cause. All best as you continue on. David must beat Goliath !! Karen Chandler
commented 2014-07-24 10:46:18 -0700 · Flag
We are looking forward to walking with you tomorrow, Mayor. Welcome to Northern Virginia !
commented 2014-07-23 15:54:59 -0700 · Flag
We saw the video where a supporter said, “I wish there were more people like you!” We very much want him to know THAT THERE ARE !
Incredible leadership on your part, Mayor. Go get ’em.
followed this page 2014-07-23 15:52:09 -0700
commented 2014-07-17 13:14:22 -0700 · Flag
Maybe folks could join him as he nears DC for the final push on his walk into the capitol. Would need some planning, though.
commented 2014-07-16 19:46:53 -0700 · Flag
Margaret Ridgeway and others, if you create a profile on this website and include your address, you will receive an email to let you know when the Mayor is approaching your area, with enough notice to attend an event, and/or walk a mile with him.
commented 2014-07-16 06:42:54 -0700 · Flag
Can anyone tell me where to meet up with them around Woodbridge VA?
commented 2014-07-15 13:22:59 -0700 · Flag
I pray you will have a safe walk and that you will get the results you are seeking, but I agree with Jeri I don’t expect any help from the Obama Administration.
followed this page 2014-07-15 10:23:19 -0700
commented 2014-07-14 19:48:18 -0700 · Flag
How many towns or cities no matter their size or economy, have a mayor or any local representative that will walk to Washington, DC in order to save our hospital and ultimately our lives?! God bless you Mayor O’Neal! Our thoughts and prayers are with you!
commented 2014-07-14 17:31:23 -0700 · Flag
Adam, I wish you the best. Hopefully someone in Washington will listen to you and help. But I’m not counting on anything from Raleigh or the Obama administration.
followed this page 2014-07-14 06:46:18 -0700
commented 2014-07-13 20:50:36 -0700 · Flag
We are currently in Florida but will be back in Maryland before the Mayor reaches Maryland. We have a home in Smith Shores and fully support Mayor O’Neal on this walk. Will be watching his progress and hope to join him on the finish line.
Margaret Cutler Walton