TWIN CITIES (WMBD) — Veterans gathered together for the first Ground Pounder 22 Ruck March On Saturday.
Patrick Schmid of Central Illinois Veteran Warriors said they want to help veterans while also helping the community.
“We’re here today to bring awareness of veteran suicide but also to drop off canned goods to the Midwest Food Bank as it’s needed in these times right now to help veterans but to also help the community at the same time,” said Schmid.
Dozens of veterans met a Keg Grove Brewing Company in Bloomington and trekked 4.7 miles to Midwest Food Bank in Normal.
The CIVW teamed up with other veteran organizations such as VFW Post 454 to put together Saturday’s March.
Heather Clemens of Keg Grover Brewing Company said the goal is to lower the veteran suicide rate.
“We would love to raise awareness of number one veteran suicide rates which are 22 a day is the current number. But also we want to surround them in communities that they have that support so that they can work to a healthy place and reduce that number until it’s zero,” Clemens said.
Clemens said it was encouraging to see the turn out for the first year.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout obviously. And with the enthusiasm. If you know veterans they’re an enthusiastic bunch and they do rally around one another. And it’s awesome to see where it’s going to go from here,” said Clemens
Schmid said they hope to make the Ruck March one of many in the future to come.
“I’m really looking forward to stepping off and enjoying this ruck and looking forward and ready for the next one,” he said.