KeepHealthCare.ORG – Marching for veterans’ mental health
The march gave veterans, military personnel and civilians an opportunity to raise money to help local veterans, and raise awareness about veterans dealing with mental health issues, by hiking up to 10 miles with weighted packs along the Lakewalk. Temperatures on Saturday morning were in the low to mid-20s, but it was definitely colder by Lake Superior, said Mike Geisdorf of Aurora, while taking a break at the turnaround point at East High School.
“It was brutal with the wind by the lake, but after that it was wonderful,” he said.
Geisdorf is a veteran himself, and decided to participate in the march to help other veterans who are having difficulty reintegrating into civilian life.
“It’s a tough transition and I wanted to make sure I did my part, not just in walking it, but also in raising money,” Geisdorf said.
Geisdorf comes from a family of veterans, and he said the march allows him to do his part to give back.
Jacob Newlon of Carlton is currently a staff sergeant with the Minnesota National Guard in Arden Hills; he said his fellow military “brothers and sisters” are why he decided to come out for Saturday’s event.
“I know a lot of brothers and sisters that have gone through difficulties and it’s just the right thing to do,” he said.
Newlon walked in just boots and a pair of shorts. When asked if he was cold, even a little bit, he said no.
“The support warms you up from the inside out,” he said.
The Nearly Naked Ruck March is staged by 23rd Veteran, which provides “a long-term active transition for veterans exiting the military and those who never received a proper transition (and) helps recondition brains for the civilian world,” organizers said. The group also offers educational seminars for the community, on creating a more friendly environment for veterans.