Hero Walk to pass through Ligonier area this week
The PA Hero Walk, an annual 320-mile walk from Philadelphia to New Kensington that raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project, will pass through the area this week.
The walk, which is organized by the Kiski Valley Veterans and Patriots Association and began on June 9, is scheduled to arrive in Ligonier on Wednesday, then make its way from Ligonier to Blairsville on Thursday, stopping briefly in Derry at American Legion Post No. 324.
Blairsville resident Robert Nolan has been involved with the Hero Walk for the past five years and is serving as the segment general for the Ligonier-to-Blairsville portion of the trek.
“It's always been a positive experience,” Nolan said of his involvement with the event. “The people that are responsible for the organizing and the actual logistics are a lot of military veterans, a lot of ordinary people. The thing that attracted me to it, I'm a retired veteran myself, but just the people and the cause. It benefits the veterans of our country, that's the attraction to me.”
Local veterans will join the group in a parade at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Ligonier. The Hometown Hero Walk will form at Bell Street and proceed down Main Street and end at Ligonier Agway.
When walk participants reach the end of their travels on Thursday, they'll gather along with local supporters for a Hometown Hero Walk parade through Blairsville.
The parade will start at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the corner of Market and Morrow streets, and will end at the bandstand in the Diamond intersection of West Market and Liberty streets.
“We're going to have a community band down here,” Nolan said. “There's going to be a great number of people that are going to be here to help our celebration.”
PA Hero Walk organizers were impressed last year with the reception walkers received as they entered Blairsville, Nolan said. Last year's parade in Blairsville started at 6 p.m., but this year, it will start a half hour later in hopes of attracting more attendees.
By the time the Hero Walk's “dedicated walkers” – those who started in Philadelphia and have walked the entire course – reach Blairsville, they'll be closing in on the home stretch. The walk is scheduled to conclude Saturday.
“These people have been training for this prior to the walk. Some days they'll walk 30 miles, some days they won't walk that many miles. Thursday, they're walking from Ligonier here to Blairsville, my estimate's about 18 miles or so. They'll walk to Derry first, have a short service there at the American Legion, take a little break and then come here. By the time they get here, they've walked more than 270 miles.”
The next leg of the Hero Walk spans from Blairsville to Vandergrift on Friday, with a stop at the Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department at 1 p.m.
A large crowd is expected for the final leg of the walk, from the Allegheny Township war memorial near Allegheny Towne Center to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 92 on Wildlife Lodge Road in Lower Burrell. This last 10-mile segment is expected to begin about 7:30 a.m. Saturday and finish about 11:30 a.m., followed by a picnic at the VFW.
Anyone interested in walking on Thursday, donating to the Hero Walk or participating in the parade in Blairsville can contact Nolan at 724-840-4233 or Amanda Hudson at 724-787-6191.
Liz Hayes and Deborah A. Brehun contributed to this story. Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.