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Ruck to Remember, producers of the annual march to Arlington National Cemetery known as 60 to 60, has announced their repeat partnership with Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW), naming OEW as one of the Official Charity Partners of their upcoming 2018 event.


As part of the partnership, a portion of event registrations will be donated to Operation Enduring Warrior to support their mission to honor, empower and motivate America’s wounded military service members. Additionally, the two organizations will work together to launch joint marketing initiatives in support of the partnership and athletes are encouraged to raise funds for OEW during the registration and training process.

"Operation Enduring Warrior is pleased to receive notice of our selection as a 2018 Ruck to Remember 60 to 60 Charity Partner,” said Kelly Farmer, VP of Communication for the organization. “Over the past four years Ruck to Remember and OEW have forged a vital partnership. Together we have covered hundreds of miles, honored many fallen service members, and sought to promote a camaraderie that so often goes missing in the post-military society. Ruck to Remember has been a cornerstone of our financial landscape. Since 2015 we have received more than $100,000 in donations as a result of this special partnership. No other entity has provided so much crucial financial support of our mission. We are deeply honored and truly value this alliance."


An Operation Enduring Warrior MAT Member Leads the March

“Operation Enduring Warrior has been a great partner in helping Ruck to Remember grow our mission of honoring and remembering those that gave all and those coming home carry with them, their wounds of war,” said Keith Jolly, Founder & President of Ruck to Remember.

About Ruck to Remember:


Founded in 2011 the Ruck to Remember’s mission was, is and will always be to empower our nation’s heroes, coming home carrying with them the wounds of war and Honor and Remember those sacrificed all.

Ruck to Remember holds annual Memorial Day weekend event we call our Mission. There are two operations that make up this Mission to Empower, Honor and Remember. 60 to 60 – A weekend long trek that will take from Harpers Ferry W.V. over rugged terrain and down through Northern Virginia as you move toward the Iwo Jima War Memorial in prep to link up with the Final Miles Team to complete the combined mission.


About Operation Enduring Warrior:


Operation Enduring Warrior is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor, empower and motivate America’s wounded military service members. Our physical, mental and emotional rehabilitative cycle is modeled to overcome adversity and hardship through innovation, teamwork and perseverance; ultimately enabling the lives of our Wounded Warriors to go in directions they once thought impossible.


Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW) was granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service functioning as a charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations to the organization are deductible as charitable contributions. We are a 100% volunteer-run organization.


How YOU can get involved... DONATE to the team's fundraiser here: http://bit.ly/R2R_OEW2018



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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


City Ruck Tour 2018 (CRT18) is a series of group hikes known as ruck marches designed to raise awareness of veteran needs, promote community in the heart of our nation, and honor those who have sacrificed to dutifully serve our country in both military and public service. CRT announced their second year of partnership with Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW), in hopes of expanding the OEW footprint and expanding the impact to our military veteran population during the upcoming 2018 event schedule.


"Operation Enduring Warrior is fortunate to have a team member as dedicated as Danny Stokes is to our mission. There are hours and hours of time and effort required to produce, oversee, and execute an endeavor as large as this one. We were delighted to receive notice earlier this year of the current spin on last year’s highly successful series known as the Capital Ruck Tour,” said Kelly Farmer, VP of Communication for the organization. “The Capital Ruck Tour 2017 was a phenomenal event of 53 stops, approximately 600 participants altogether, 1000+ miles, and over $10,000 raised for OEW. The 2018 twist, generically named City Ruck Tour, allows for events in non-Capital cities in addition to or in place of the state’s Capital. It keeps the tour fresh and new for those participants who rucked with us last year. This year’s stops will also involve a much greater OEW presence with many members of our organization contributing their leadership and planning skills to make the event a success.”

“The Capital Ruck Tour 2017 was a phenomenal event of 53 stops, approximately 600 participants altogether, 1000+ miles, and over $10,000 raised for OEW, says Kelly Farmer, VP of Communication for Operation Enduring Warrior.


About City Ruck Tour:


The City Ruck Tour 2018 (CRT18) is a series of 60 friendly Ruck Marches hosted by Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW) and led by select volunteers from OEW’s Masked Athlete Team and OEW’s Community Ambassador population. The purpose is to perform outdoor fitness in a group setting, while learning more about OEW’s mission. The average distance will be 12 miles at a 20 minute per mile pace, carrying a backpack weighing 10-20 pounds (the participant may choose how much to carry.) Local police officers will be integrated into each event, as a means to leverage the military community to assist the Law Enforcement community with matters such as traumatic stress and behavioral health.



How You Can Get Involved:


For event information and registration, visit: http://bit.ly/CityRuckTour2018

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The first time I was asked if I wanted to do the Bataan Memorial Death March, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, I was very ignorant of the history of the actual Bataan Death March from World War II. To learn more I downloaded some literature and watched a few videos on YouTube of the POW survivors of Bataan. This helped me to gain an understanding of what had happened and learn about the sacrifices made and acts of resiliency and survival our Armed Service Members of the Greatest Generation suffered.


My first Bataan event was in 2016 where we took on the Heavy division; which is the equal distance of a full marathon. The opening ceremony, held before all participants, was an unforgettable tribute to both American and Filipino POWs captured by the Japanese less than a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Even survivors of the actual Bataan Death March and members of the Filipino Armed Forces were present as the National Anthem played and colors were displayed by the New Mexico National Guard.



"The opening ceremony, held before all participants, was an unforgettable tribute to both American and Filipino POWs captured by the Japanese less than a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor."

After the ceremony, we all gathered up at the starting line and began our journey. Being that the event is held during springtime in New Mexico, you can imagine how high the temperature reached that day, and we had 26.2 miles in this weather. The start was on a paved road, but shortly after we hit a sandy path. By the time we hit Mile 8, I was already “black” on water. Luckily, water stations were located all over the course. Around Mile 9, we started our climb up a hilltop called Mineral Hill. As a result of past injuries from combat, this incline was going to be what I thought the biggest challenge throughout the day. I aggressively took on the ascent towards the top of the mountaintop with my fellow MAT team members and our loyal OCAs. Once we reached the top I was lucky enough to come across a medical tent to have my stump and foot looked at (my amputation is obvious, but my “problem child” when it comes to my injuries is the hardware in my salvaged right foot, and at this moment, I was already swelling up. I knew it would only get worse as the miles built up).




After changing my bandages on my right foot we continued forward. Eventually, we started our descent back down Mineral Hill to lower elevation. By the time we were fully off of Mineral Hill, we found ourselves at what’s known as the “Sand Pit”. This is where race organizers purposely comb the sand on our route to make the ground softer to march. You

can imagine after 16+ miles how that feels on the feet (or in some cases, foot). At this point I asked two of my MAT brothers to assist me as I held onto their forearms for support while pushing through the pit (it was then that I felt the blisters begin to pop on my foot). From what I can remember, I believe the pit lasted about a mile... give or take. For the duration of the “Pit” I held onto my teammate’s forearms.


Following the pit we approached what we realized was our last water point. It was getting late in the day and the sun was about to go down with one more mile remaining. It was nice to get out of the sun as dusk settled, and at this point all I wanted to do was cross that finish line. It was then that I began to realize we were among the last marchers on the course. When we finally finished I learned there was just one group behind us. But to me, this wasn’t about time, it was about finishing and paying our respects.



After leaving the event and upon taking my boot off in the car, I realized that I had developed more blisters than originally thought and was also about to lose a toenail. The next morning my stump was still swollen from the day before’s adventure... these things happen.


Despite the blisters, lost toenails, and swollen limbs, nothing could compare to the suffrage endured by the victims of the Japanese war crimes documented from the actual Bataan Death March. We had endured a voluntary 26.2 miles of uneven terrain and scorching sun. There is no comparison to the 60+ miles of no nutrition, no water, burying your fallen brothers, and realizing your fate rests in the hands of the Imperial Japanese Forces. I cannot begin to imagine the adversity and hardships our greatest generation faced.

2018 will be my third consecutive trip to White Sands to pay my respects and march. I couldn’t be more honored to do it with our fellow OCAs, MAT brothers and sisters, and alongside our honorees, Greg Sapp & Joy Clark. For anyone joining us this year for your first experience of the Bataan Memorial Death March, know it’s not meant to be easy. Just remember why you signed up in the first place.


"There is no comparison to the 60+ miles of no nutrition, no water, burying your fallen brothers, and realizing your fate rests in the hands of the Imperial Japanese Forces. I cannot begin to imagine the adversity and hardships our greatest generation faced. "

~ No Mama No Papa No Uncle Sam - Earl G.

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