Sixth Ruck March To 'Carry Load,' Raise Funds For Vets
Sept. 23, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Christopher Young
Many people think of veterans on holidays such as the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but how often do those same people take the time to “carry their load?”
On Oct. 10, members of the Bearkat and Huntsville communities, as well as the surrounding areas, will have the opportunity take supporting local servicemen and women a step further by participating in the 6th annual Ruck March.
|Scenes from the 2014 Ruck March. (Above) Participants gather for the opening ceremony as Tom Logan (red cap) comments on the event that benefits the Red Lion Project, which Logan's family created in honor of their son Cpl. Joseph Logan, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. (Middle) A team of SHSU students. (Bottom) A team of SHSU staff and alumnae. —Photos courtesy of VRC|
This year’s competitive march will begin at 8 a.m. at the Huntsville State Park’s Shelter No. One, six miles southwest of Huntsville off Interstate 45 on Park Road 40. Registration will begin at 6 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony.
A ruck march is an informal term for a loaded walk that is done over distance at a relatively fast pace. The “load” is typically a backpack or a rucksack loaded with equipment. The military uses these marches as a means of training troops for the rough conditions they will face in combat.
“The purpose of the Ruck March is to bring attention to all service members, not just overseas, but also here in the United States, including police and firefighters,” said Fernando Chavez, Veterans Resource Center director.
Over the past five years, the Veterans Recourses Center has been using ruck marches to symbolically “carry the load,” or raise awareness of the “load” that military personnel, veterans and civil service members carry daily. The event also raises money for area service-related organizations.
Participants can choose to compete individually or on a team by carrying no weight, 25 pounds, 45 pounds or, a 60 pound backpack.
“The pack you carry symbolizes the mental emotional and physical load that is carried by all who serve,” said Jacob Bullion, VRC recruiting roordinator and Ruck March founder. “Twenty-two veterans commit suicide each day; we hope by hosting events like the Ruck March we can help raise awareness so that this number will dramatically decrease.”
This year’s proceeds benefit the Red Lion Project, which was created by the parents of Cpl. Joseph Logan, a Willis native, who was killed in a helicopter crash with five other marines while deployed in Afghanistan.
The Red Lion Project gives returning veterans a place to clear their minds and reconnect with their families after returning home from the horrors of combat.
“This year, the Ruck March is only five miles, like it was the first two years,” Chavez said. “The previous two ruck marches were eight and 10 miles, but we chose to go back to five miles so that more people would be able to participate.
“Although this event is a Ruck March, participants are not required to wear a backpack; the largest group of participants is always the ‘no-pack’ division,” said Chavez.
The Ruck March is open to the public. Participants range from veterans and students, to citizens of Huntsville and the surrounding area, as well as student organizations, police and firemen.
“We would like to see more staff and faculty involved,” said Chavez. “They have been one of the least represented groups in years past.”
At the end of the competitive event, there will be an award ceremony for the individual and team winners of each category.
Participants can sign up online or the day of with onsite registration. While participants can register the day of, the Veterans Resource Center encourages advanced registration.
For individuals, the cost ranges from $25, for non-pack wearers, to $40, for the ultra heavy weight class. Team registration starts at $80 and goes up to $140.
Aside form showing support to local veterans, other benefits of participating in the Ruck March include getting free access to the state park and enjoying all of the beauty it has to offer.
The VRC is dedicated to supporting and raising awareness for the needs of veterans, both on and off campus.
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