Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thousands Walk for Wounded Service Members

Walk for the Wounded offers salute to those who served
Daily Times News
Kathleen E. Carey
May 14, 2016

“I had a call from one guy one time. He was at the end of his rope over them shutting off his water and electric. It amounted to $290 between both bills. Now, could you imagine that man taking his life because of $290?

"Team It's Always Faithful" walk for Marine Jimmy Kalitz who died from P.T.S.D.
Thousands came out to Rose Tree Park Saturday as they enjoyed the radiant sunshine – yet for all of its glow, that’s not why they were there.

Saturday was the ninth annual Walk for the Wounded, an event that’s a morning 5K run, a walk around the park, a festival with informational and vending booths and a ceremony to honor veterans, particularly those who served in active warfare.

The walk is a signature event for Operation First Response, a national organization that dedicates 97 percent of its proceeds to providing for the financial needs of veterans from rent and utilities to clothing and travel expenses.

Nick Constantino, senior advisor for Operation First Response, was gratified to see the 3,000 to 4,000 attendants throughout the day.

“It’s very gratifying to see the event grow after nine years and to see the same faces that we started with day one still attending and new faces coming in,” he said. “It’s very encouraging. It means a lot for the support and for what we do.”

During the veterans’ ceremony, Delaware County native and Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett was honored and presented with a $5,000 check for enduring being ambushed while on patrol and shot several times.

Among those in the audience were his parents, both of Delaware County. His mom, Terry, said she’s thankful he’s alive and said she only watched the video of his ambush twice because it was so difficult.

She said Saturday was unique because it spoke to his service in the Coast Guard, which he joined after graduating Monsignor Bonner High School in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Hartnett served on active duty with the Coast Guard from 2009 to 2015 and then in the reserves from 2009 to 2015.
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