The members of the Columbia Catholic War Veterans Post 1306 invite the community to join the seventh annual Columbia Hero Walk on Saturday, June 2. Walkers, runners, and bicyclists of all ages and ability levels are welcome to participate. Strollers and pets are also welcome at the event, which will take place rain or shine.
Columbia Hero Walk organizer Donald Androsky shared that the funds raised through the Columbia Hero Walk will benefit the PA Hero Walk, which supports veterans exclusively in Pennsylvania who may be having a difficult time medically or economically. Androsky emphasized that the PA Hero Walk is run by volunteers, so the money does not go toward any staff expenses - only to helping veterans.
According to organizer Ed Wickenheiser, the PA Hero Walk has helped to raise nearly $2 million since 2013 to support veterans in Pennsylvania who need assistance with housing, food, clothing, vehicle and home repair, appliance purchases or repairs, and utility payments. A check for the funds raised at the Columbia event will be presented to the leaders of the PA Hero Walk when they pass through Columbia on Wednesday, June 13, during the organization's walk across Pennsylvania.
Columbia Hero Walk registration for individuals and teams will open at 7 a.m. at Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, 41 Walnut St., Columbia. To register in advance, individuals may call 717-449-5635. Participants will receive an event T-shirt.
Cyclists will depart at 7:50 a.m., and walkers and runners will step off at 8 a.m. Participants may complete 16.2 miles along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, finishing at Fisherman's Wharf, the Falmouth access point off Route 441. Several exit points are available for individuals who would prefer to complete a shorter portion of the trail. Comfort stations with beverages and snacks will be offered at five points along the route. Transportation back to Post 1306, 250 N. Seventh St., Columbia, will be provided for participants with the exception of bicyclists.
The top three individual and team finishers in both walking and biking categories will receive awards at a ceremony at Post 1306 after the race. Free refreshments and a chicken barbecue meal will be available for participants, and door prizes will be awarded at 4 p.m. "The food will be outstanding. It always is," Androsky remarked.
Last year's walk in Columbia raised nearly $10,000, and organizers have upped the ante for 2018 with a fundraising goal of $15,000. Wickenheiser noted that the annual walk is one of several ways that Post 1306 reaches out to veterans. The post also hosts an annual catch-and-release fishing event for veterans at Lake Aldred and sponsors quarterly outings for the veterans from the Lebanon VA.
Androsky noted that individuals who would like to support the Hero Walk but are unable to participate may mail donations or drop off contributions earmarked for the Hero Walk at Post 1306.