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‘March 4 Vets’ benefiting Save a Warrior

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‘March 4 Vets’ benefiting Save a Warrior

A photo of a previous March 4 Vets group. Photo provided by Justin Smith.

A photo of a previous March 4 Vets group. Photo provided by Justin Smith.

A photo of a previous March 4 Vets group. Photo provided by Justin Smith.

A photo of a previous March 4 Vets group. Photo provided by Justin Smith.

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

Four years ago, Justin Smith wanted to do something a little special for Veterans Day. His plan was to walk 17 miles from his Duncan Falls home to Colony Square Mall.

After a post on Facebook to tell his friends about the walk, and inform that he was accepting donations to benefit a veteran organization to help vets with PTSD, Smith had to alter his plan.

He received a significant amount of public response, about $2,000 in donations and a group of folks that wanted to walk alongside him.

Overwhelmed by the positive response, Smith wasn’t going to make the eager participants walk the original 17 miles he planned on. So, a 5.6 mile course was set from the Zanesville VFW to the JC Penney parking lot at the Colony Square Mall.

Four years after the inaugural walk, Smith said he’s had about 30 to 40 participants show up each year, and they’ve raised roughly $9,000 over the past years in the name of helping veterans.

Smith, a nine-year veteran of the Army Reserves who served a couple tours in Iraq, said he simply wanted to help other veterans and specifically veterans that battle PTSD.

The event attracts people far beyond the small community of Zanesville. Smith said during one of the walks, a man that he hadn’t seen in 10 years showed up to walk the 5.6 mile course in Zanesville. Before that, the last time the men saw each other was in Iraq.

March 4 Vets is open to the public, and no registration is required. Donations are encouraged, but there is no donation requirement to participate.

“I’m just hoping we have a good turnout,” Smith said. “The more the better.”

Smith added that not every person walks the entire length of the march and not all marchers are veterans. He encouraged people to dress warm as it’s supposed to be a chilly one Sunday morning.

All of the money raised from the march will benefit Save a Warrior in Newark. SAW is an organization dedicated to helping veterans, active-duty members and first responders with PTSD.

The Zanesville VFW (1318 Putnam Ave.) opens at 8 a.m. Sunday and marching participants can sit and have a cup of coffee before the march starts at 9 a.m. The course takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete.

Danielle Hurst from Brenwood Hair and Nail Salon will be handing out coffee, hot chocolate, doughnuts and bottled water to marchers along the way.

Finks Car Lot will also be helping out with the event by providing vans for transportation back to the Zanesville VFW after the march concludes at Colony Square Mall.

Midwestern patriotism brought Save a Warrior to Ohio

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