Before the walk, participants added messages about grandparents, parents, and other relatives and friends to the Honor & Remembrance Wall. Walkers wore labels naming those for whom they walked.
The 4k walk raised more than $13,000 for programs benefiting Texas veterans living with post-traumatic stress (PTSD), depression, anxiety and other inner battles as a result of their service.
Representative Ed Thompson gave the invocation and read a State of Texas resolution commemorating the walk, while Constable Buck Stevens thanked participants as they arrived.
The Junior ROTC from Pearland High School, under the leadership of Sergeant Major Bruce Grant, presented the colors. The National Anthem was performed by Traci Cooper, whose album Stepping Stone is under consideration for the Grammy Award ballots this year.
Pearland City Council member and veteran Gary Moore presented 15 year old Dayane Cruz with a challenge medal bearing her design after judges named her the winner of this year’s YMCA day camp design contest. The first 100 finishers of the walk received these solid metal commemorative coins.
“PTSD affects entire families, not just the person who experienced the trauma,” explains HIKE for Mental Health president Leo Walker. “We are thrilled to see the Pearland community come together for those who are back from the battlefield but still fighting battles within.”
Proceeds will benefit veteran treatment and community education programs of Pearland VFW Post 7109, Counseling Connections for Change, and HIKE for Mental Health.
The organizers wish to thank event sponsors Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital, MHI Compressor, Westside Veterinary Hospital, Cooling Tower Depot, the Rees family, Whataburger, Nancy Kozanecki, LyondellBasell, Mercer Insurance Agency, Kings Biergarten, Marvin Monk, North Brazoria County Democratic Club, Pearland Democrats Club, Glen and Linda Rider, H-E-B, Southern Crushed Concrete, Pearland City Councilman Gary Moore, BAKfish Brewing, Betsy Maggard AVON, Gentle Dental, Mike’s Ice House, Judge Matt Sebesta, Constable Buck Stevens, Friends Uncorked, and Graphic Icons.
Donations to the event remain open until Thanksgiving. To make a donation, or view additional photos from the event, please visit PearlandWalk.org.
HIKE for Mental Health organizes hikes and walks to bring awareness to the stigma surrounding mental illness. Funds raised by these events that support scientific research into causes and treatments for PTSD, schizophrenia, depression, and other major mental illnesses. The all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit also helps preserve wilderness trails. For more information, visit www.hikeformentalhealth.org or email [email protected]