PA Hero Walk coming to Murrysville

| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Al Pullice wants to see more than 1,000 people walking the streets of Murrysville.

Organizer of the annual PA Hero Walk, Pullice, of Murrysville, will bring the cross-state walk for wounded veterans to his hometown next month.

“It's a community effort to help our wounded veterans through awareness,” Pullice said. “Yes, it raises money, but when you have 1,000 people walking down the road, people are going to ask what's going on.”

Murrysville will host its first hero walk on Oct. 5, when registered participants walk from Franklin Regional High School to Murrysville Community Park to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, a Florida-based nonprofit group that provides support and services to veterans who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pullice began the PA Hero Walk — a two-week walk across Pennsylvania — five years ago and has raised more than $340,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. During the past year, several communities across the state have hosted hometown hero walks as a smaller-scale event.

“A lot of people can't take two weeks out of their life to walk across the state,” Pullice said. “This gives a lot of people the opportunity to take part.”

The walk, organized by Murrysville Recreation, offers opportunities for children and adults to get involved and raise awareness. For children, the walk is an opportunity for to learn more about what veterans do for the country.

“They start asking questions about what (the event) is about,” Pullice said. “They learn about our veteran's community and what a veteran is.”

Pullice said local churches and businesses have been organizing teams — Cornerstone Ministries expects to bring a team of 250 walkers, while East Suburban Sports Medicine hopes to have at least 20, he said. It's his hope that the volume of walkers participating will make people aware that there are veterans who need help.

“It starts to reach men and women who have served, who might be living with post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury,” Pullice said. “The money is one thing, but the awareness is even more important.”

There are several legs to the walk, said Rob Hunter, director of Murrysville Recreation. A 5.5-mile stretch will begin at the Tractor Supply on Route 22, where participants will walk to the Franklin Regional football field.

For those looking for a shorter walk from the western edge of Murrysville, a 2.2-mile walk will take place from the Ladd Wagner Insurance parking lot to the football field. Walkers from both legs will meet with others at the football field to walk 3.9 miles from the high school to Murrysville Community Park.

People can join the final mile of the walk by meeting up at the intersection of Synan Farm Road and Evans Road by 11 a.m. They will walk to Murrysville Community Park.

Hunter said there will be a short ceremony at the veterans monument at Murrysville Community Park before an exhibition game at the Bill Mazeroski Miracle Field, where refreshments and children's activities will be available.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627.

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