PENNSYLVANIA HERO WALKERS
TO STOP IN LIGONIER (PA) JUNE 22, 2010
You suck up and deal with the soreness and tiredness that comes with a long walk, according to Al Pulice. After all, you don’t compare it with the discomfort of the guys walking with you, the soldiers who bear the wounds of protecting freedom.
Pulice, 55, of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, is one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Hero Walk. This year a core group of twenty wounded soldiers will trek the entire 329 mile journey.
He said the third-annual walk should remind Pennsylvanians of the sacrifices troops continue to make in Iraq and Afghanistan. “They hear about the casualties, the deaths, but they don’t hear about the injuries,” he said. “This definitely brings attention to the injuries.”
Participants in the walk are collecting donations for the Wounded Warrior Project, a nationwide nonprofit that helps injured service members that offers counseling, mentoring, and support programs. The organization is based in Jacksonville, Florida. The goal for this year is $100,000.
The 2010 walk began Sunday, June 12, at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and will end June 25 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 92 in Lower Burrell.
Participants in the 329 mile walk expect to be in Ligonier on Wednesday, June 22. They will parade along Main Street from Bell Street to the Ligonier Agway, and are expected to arrive at the Byers-Tosh American Legion Post 267 at 6:30 p. m. When the participants who are walking the entire route reach this stop they will have completed 263 miles by foot. Along the way they visit Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts.
Persons who wish to join the core group for portions of the walk, which travels mostly on Route 30 west, can sign on by signing up at www.paherowalk.org. Walkers average twenty miles a day.
As a resident of Ligonier Valley, I encourage my community neighbors to greet the walkers during their parade through Ligonier. Or, better yet, join them as they walk along Route 30.
On June 23, at 8:00 a. m., the Hero Walkers will be joined by a members of the New Florence VFW, the Fort Ligonier VFW Post 734, and the Ligonier American Legion Post, as they walk to Blairsville, following Route 30 and passing through Derry.
Interestingly, Pulice isn’t a veteran. He’s a citizen who became involved in helping them veterans through his job as manager of a Giant Eagle store in Leechburg. When more than 400 people showed up at a lunch for veterans, he decided to form the Kiski Valley Veterans and Patriots Association to have programs and events for local veterans.
In 2008, the story of Derry Township resident Army Sgt. Jeremy Feldbusch, who lost his vision and suffered brain damage in Iraq in 2003, inspired him to organize the Pennsylvania Hero walk. His Jeremy’s father, Brace Feldbusch, 57, of Derry Township, was a co-founder of the Wounded Warrior Project, for which Jeremy was its first national spokesman.
Brace Feldbusch said he hopes the walk inspires other injured veterans to find help within the community the Wounded Warrior Project has created.“If we find one, two, three warriors across the state with the publicity that we get … that’s huge,” he said.
LIGONIER ITINERY FOR THE PENNSYLVANIA HERO WALK
Roy Hutchinson – 724-238-5525 or Maurreen Black – 724-235-9904
Wednesday June 22*
SPONSORED by AMERICAN LEGION POST 237 – VFW POST 7622
Depart: 7:00 am Grandview PA.
Arrive: 11:00am 911 Memorial, Shanksville, PA (6 Miles).
Arrive: 3:00pm American Legion Post 257 Stoystown,Pa. (12 miles)
Arrive: 6:00 pm American Legion Post 267 Ligonier, PA. (31 Miles)
Route: Rt. 30 West
Total Distance Completed to Date: 263 Miles.
Thursday June 23*
Local Contacts – Colin & Jennifer Varrato -724-762-3338
SPONSORED by SALTSBURG VFD
Depart: 8:00 am Ligioner, PA.
Arrive: 12noon American Legion Post 324
Arrive: 3:00 pm Blairsville, PA. (16 Miles).
Arrive : 5pm The Other Place
Route: Rt. 30 West
Total Distance Completed to Date: 279 Miles
How to help
For more information on how to participate in the Pennsylvania Hero Walk or to make a donation, see www.paherowalk.org.
Donations also can be sent to Pennsylvania Hero Walk, c/o Al Pulice 5140 Ashbaugh Road, Murrysville, PA 15668.