Dozens of people are lacing up their sneakers, all for a good cause.
With each mile, they’re getting one step closer to helping military veterans in need.
“They selflessly give theirself to this country, for this country, so why not? I’m still here; I am able to walk, so I will walk,” said Britney Brooks, a two-time Iraq War Veteran with the U.S. Army.
This is Brooks’ first year walking in the PA Hero Walk, which kicked off Sunday in Philadelphia.
Over the next two weeks, Brooks and several other veterans, active duty military members and supporters will be walking 320 miles across the state, raising thousands of dollars along the way.
“You’ve got a hero that’s Korean War; you’ve got a hero that’s Vietnam War. Go out there and walk three miles for them,” said Jim Scahill, a Vietnam Veteran and participant in the PA Hero Walk.
For the past five years the walkers have been raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, but this year organizers say they wanted to keep the money local.
“Over the past year, we made a decision to raise money and awareness for Pennsylvania Veterans and all Pennsylvania Veterans; not just OEF, OIF, but to look at helping Vietnam veterans, Korean veterans and WWII Veterans,” said Al Pulice, the founder and director of the PA Hero Walk.
When the journey get’s difficult, the walkers say they think of those men and women who have sacrificed so much for their freedom.
“There was a guy named Joe Gross, a wounded warrior from Akron, Ohio. He lost is leg in Iraq and he was at the front of the pack coming out of the Art Museum in Philadelphia; I watched him, I stopped my belly-aching and I got through the first day,” said Michael Bishop Rieg, a U.S. Army Veteran who has participated in the PA Hero Walk every year since it started back in 2009.
Over the past five years, organizers say they’ve raised more than $600,000 for military veterans and their families.