Nutley hosting Ruck March on Veterans Day

The community is invited to take part in Nutley’s second annual Veterans Day Ruck March Nov. 11, immediately following the annual Veterans Day ceremony.

This 5K march, which mimics “true military fashion” as participants carry a 22-pound weighted rucksack or backpack, takes participants through Memorial Park from the WWII Monument to Kingsland Manor and back. As a way to raise awareness for those veterans struggling with mental health, the weight is a symbol of the average of 22 veterans a day who take their own lives.

This year’s event will go one step further. The township has expanded its efforts to benefit resident veterans and others in need as participants are invited to replace the 22 pounds with 22 canned items to be donated to the Nutley Family Service Bureau Food Pantry.

“Last year, we debuted the Veterans Day Ruck March to have an event for the community and our veterans, on Veterans Day, while also bringing awareness to the 22 veterans per day who unfortunately lose their lives to their battles with mental health,” Daniel Jacoby, of the Nutley Veteran Affairs office, said. “This year, we will build on this event with the donations of canned goods as another way of supporting our veterans and others less fortunate who rely on the food pantry.”

Established in 2012, the Veterans Affairs office — a division of the Department of Public Affairs — works closely with the township’s American Legion and VFW to service the needs of all local vets.

“It’s veterans helping veterans,” Jacoby, an Army veteran himself, said.

Under the leadership of Department of Public Affairs Commissioner John V. Kelly III, a member of the Army National Guard, the office supports veteran residents in many ways.

“We work to make sure the veterans are getting everything they are entitled to,” Kelly said. “We help to provide enrollment to the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. We will put in for service-connected disability benefits to those who may have injuries or illnesses due to their time in service. We help provide transportation to the VA and we will review cases for anyone who has received a decision they don’t agree with.”

All are invited to participate in the ruck march. All participants will be responsible for packing and bringing their own rucksack or backpack. Carrying any weight is OK.

“The Veterans Day Ruck March has a multi-layered purpose,” Jacoby said. “It’s a fun and healthy event that will not only bring awareness to those who struggle with mental health, but will also help stock the shelves with food for those less fortunate.”

Registration is open through Oct. 31 by calling Jacoby at (973) 284-4951, ext. 2428.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.