Phoenix pastor crushed by boulder on charity hike set to finish what he started

AZ Family (November 18, 2022) by David Caltabiano

A boulder crushed a Phoenix pastor who was hiking for charity in 2020. The hike ended up raising millions for the victims of Warren Jeffs’ polygamy in Colorado City. His daughter finished the journey in 2020, and now, the pastor is close to finishing it, too.

For three weeks, Dream City Church Pastor Luke Barnett’s goal was to reach 300 miles, finishing the attempt of the Arizona Trail. It is an 800-mile trek stretching across Arizona to the Utah border to the Mexico Border. Arizona’s Family caught up with the pastor, who was being transported to and from the trail for each leg of the trip.

“My dad didn’t raise me to be a quitter. We have a little grit in us to finish what we start,” said Pastor Barnett. Back in September 2020, when the charity hike started, the goal was to raise money for the church’s effort of paying off buildings in Colorado City to support victims of Warren Jeffs cult.

During the first hike at the 500-mile mark, a boulder shifted and began to charge ahead toward Barnett’s hiking partner, his daughter Annalee Matchett, while they hiked down. “Instinctively, I thought, oh my goodness, this is going to crush my daughter. So I just pushed her out of the way, thinking I could also get out of the way, but it caught me on my back. It was a long flat boulder and it slid down on top of me,” said Barnett.

However, his daughter was able to pull him from underneath the boulder. “The way the boulder landed, it was a godsend. It was a teeter-totter so I didn’t have to pull very hard to get him out from underneath,” said Matchett.

Matchett finished the 2020 hike while her dad recovered in the hospital — a story that went viral and raised $2.5 million to help the victims in Colorado City. “Those people up there are special. There are no other people I’d rather be, he’d rather be doing this for. They’re resilient, they’re not looking at the past, they’re looking for the future,” said Matchett.

Resilient is also a word used to describe her dad, whose 2022 journey raised an additional $300,000 for those victims. He’s also slated to finish the race next week. “It was important for me personally to get this done,” said Barnett.

The pastor is expected to finish his journey on Monday. He has eight miles left, and the finish line is at the boulder that changed his life.

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