Jimmy Wayne celebrated finishing his project Meet Me Halfway campaign Sunday morning, August 1, with a victory walk into HomeBase Youth Services in Phoenix, Ariz. As he tore through the welcoming banner on the final steps of his 1,700-mile trek, Jimmy threw his arms into the air in pure amazement of the feat he had just accomplished.

After being greeted by fans and the youth of HomeBase, Jimmy addressed the importance of the foster care system in which he was placed as a teenager and explained how the idea of project Meet Me Halfway came to him late last year. Fighting back tears, Jimmy shared many stories of his time as a homeless teen and also talked about his work as a prison guard at the Gaston Correctional Facility in North Carolina.

"When I was 14, I had a tooth pulled," Jimmy recalled. "I heard the dentist say to the staff member of the group home I was in, 'Should we do this or this or this?' The staff member said, 'Oh, he's at the group-home facility.' The dentist said, 'Oh, he's one of them.' When you're sitting at the dentist and you're in the other room and you hear him say that behind the wall, you don't forget that. Sure enough, he had to go the cheap way -- pulling it. I'll never forget that.

"I worked in a prison for four years," Jimmy continued. "I've seen them take care of pedophiles and people who beat kids up or rape them. Why can't they take care of innocent kids? I'm not just saying that from the outside; I'm saying it from the inside. I was there, and I had to distribute the medication to these people, and it made me sick to my stomach."

During the afternoon ceremony, project Meet Me Halfway was also presented with a check for $3,000 from local candle makers, Gold Canyon, from the sale of special candles made to support the campaign. The Taco Bell truck was also on hand giving out free lunch to all in attendance. Dessert was served in the form of a congratulatory cake in Jimmy's honor, presented by HomeBase.

Alanna Conaway
Alanna Conaway

Afterward, Jimmy met with the HomeBase youth and spent time with each of them. "I got the chance to speak with the youth one-on-one in a private area within the facility," Jimmy tells The Boot. "One young man really stood out to me. He asked me if I ever felt depressed when I was a homeless teen. I replied, 'Yes, that's normal.' I could see the sadness in his eyes. I felt like he wanted to share something else with me, but was to afraid his peers may think he was weak."

Later that evening, Jimmy performed a special private concert for the youth at HomeBase at the Hard Rock Café in Phoenix. Throughout the evening, Jimmy shared more of his personal stories and meaningful songs, even bringing some of the teens to tears.

"During the show at the Hard Rock, I spoke on the topic of how I tried committing suicide when I was 14 years old," Jimmy says. "I saw this same young man's eyes brim with tears. I told the audience that for some reason I grabbed the bottle of antibiotics instead of all the other lethal drugs that my friends grandmother had in her medicine cabinet. I felt like there was a reason I didn't die that day. After the show, the young man approached me and said, 'I don't know how you knew that's what I was thinking.' I wrote a verse to a song I'd written about suicide on a picture and gave it to him. I said, 'Please don't give up; read this verse.'"

Project Meet Me Halfway was launched on New Year's Day from Nashville, Tenn. Even though Jimmy's walk has come to an end, the singer says Meet Me Halfway doesn't end in Phoenix. Each year, he pledges to walk through more states to spread the message. For more information or how to get involved with project Meet Me Halfway visit their official website.

Jimmy returned to Nashville on Tuesday afternoon, August 3, and was greeted at the airport by friends, fans, and young people from the Monroe Harding home for youth, where Jimmy began his walk. Jimmy resumes his touring schedule on Saturday, August 7, performing in Greenville, Wisc. For more of Jimmy's tour dates click here.