A 55-mile walk is no easy feat, but for these veterans, sacrifice did not end when they left active service.
“What happens when we have to combat a threat? We bring our resources together, we come up with a plan, and we neutralize the enemy,” said Mark Cozzupoli, director of the Ulster County Veteran Service and an Air Force veteran.
What You Need To Know
- The walk was organized by the Hudson Valley Center for Veteran Reintegration
- The walk began 22 hours earlier in Kingston, with a ceremony attended by Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, State Senator Jen Metzger, and Congressman Antonio Delgado
- Their next event is a 315-mile kayak ride from the state capitol on September 10, ending in Manhattan on September 30
That’s what the walk was all about. Issues brought to the forefront included “veteran and service member suicide," Cozzupoli said.
"That is the number-one threat facing our service members and our veterans today,” he added, “and we’re not doing enough about it, so a walk like today brings that awareness.”
The co-organizers of the 22-hour event walk say they couldn't be more pleased with the result, and that this was a total team effort.
“Everybody came together and it was just really magical,” Jessica Bugbee said.
She said while therapy is an important part of reintegration into everyday life, there is one more thing she wants everyone to remember.
“What is the need for most veteran communities, I think, is to bring us together. We leave institution and we’re kind of searching, we’re still longing for that same belonging,” she said.
That’s why Melinda Brown came out with her son, Jack. She joined the vets for most of the walk.
“We did our best, and [we’re] thankful for the support team along with us. It’s some pretty impressive people,” Brown said.
Next on the agenda is a 315-mile kayak ride along the Hudson River, from the state capitol all the way to Manhattan, dubbed “Vets On Water,” all with the veteran community in mind.