Helotes – A Helotes musician and avid walker is hoping his story inspires others to stay active.
Richard Rawls, 66, is known as Casper, his stage name.
“I have played music since I was a little boy,” Rawls said. “I play at clubs and have been doing that forever. I love it. I am still so in awe with the great players out there. I learn so much about music that I didn’t know.”
When Rawls is not playing his guitar in different bands, neighbors can catch him walking throughout their neighborhood with his dogs.
“He is very visible in the neighborhood,” said John Meyers, his neighbor. “He walks many, many miles. You can just see him constantly walking. He has become an icon.”
While walking, Rawls always engages with his neighbors or people passing by.
“He is just a wonderful person,” Meyers said. “One of those guys who always has a smile on his face. He never turns a person away and will talk to you for hours if you wanted to. We love him in the neighborhood. He is like a flower in the desert. Just a very special guy.”
Rawls said he loves having that interaction with strangers.
“I am always happy to meet anybody and talk if they want to talk and wave if they want to wave,” Rawls said.
Rawls grew up in his Helotes neighborhood on Rocking M. Trail.
“I remember when no houses were here,” Rawls said. “We would run and ride our bikes and then I started jogging and just kept at it.”
His passion for running took a deeper turn in 1982.
“I was on the road and playing with many bands when my mom became ill,” Rawls said. “So I moved back home to look after her. I started running again.”
Sadly, his mother passed away when he was around the age of 30.
“It was a great outlet for me to run to have something to do and take my mind off my mom’s passing,” Rawls said. “I could run and run and run. Once it starts, it is like an addiction to me.”
When he hit the road again with his bands, Rawls said he tried to run everywhere he went.
He even participated in marathons.
“When I went back on the road, I found a book that said, ‘Places to Run Across America,’ and doggone it, if I didn’t run every last one of them,” Rawls said.
Unfortunately, right before the pandemic, Rawls had to stop running.
“My knees went bad and right before Covid, I had to have knee surgery,” Rawls said. “The doctor said, ‘Your mediocre running career is over.’ He said, ‘You can walk.’ I said, ‘Then that is what I’ll do.’”
Rawls said he had no idea him doing something as simple as walking would encourage others in some form or fashion.
“I hope it will inspire others to get going too,” Rawls said. “Once you do it and you keep doing it, you want to do more of it. It is just the way it goes. You just got to get into it. Even if you have a little ankle pain, you got to work through it. I am just very honored that people will think of me.”
He had these words of wisdom for others.
“One step at a time, that is all it is,” he said. “One foot in front of the other. This is just God working through me. I am just walking down the road but if God inspires you to get up and want to walk too, then God bless you!”