Nice weather brings lively long weekend in Portland
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - With a sunny long weekend, dozens of families and groups of friends enjoyed the unofficial start to summer in the Rose City.
Some also took part in fun events tied to Memorial Day, and honoring those who have served in the military. At Sellwood Riverfront Park, Do Good Multnomah’s annual Ruck March, drew a large crowd. It is an event held every year where local veterans and other members of the community put on a ruck sack, and walk or run three, six, or 12 miles all in the name of veterans’ mental health awareness. Do Good Multnomah is a local homeless services nonprofit, and one of their staff who is a veteran himself says all funds raised benefit programs to help veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
“They go to our peer support programs, they go to general events like this, barbeques, taking our veterans fishing, taking them to bowling,” said Americo Hernandez. “General stuff that helps build community.”
Hernandez says with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, having this event on Memorial Day is extra special, because it highlights the importance of mental health for those who’ve served.
“I have two combat tours: I went to Iraq and I went to Afghanistan, as well as when I was with the national guard, I was activated for civil unrest,” said Hernandez. “So all of those events in my life really helped me understand the struggles that veterans have including myself.”
Navy veteran Rick Mastroieni was also out on a stroll with his dogs through Sellwood Riverfront Park. he says he served for 20 years in the Navy all over the world. He took advantage of the nice weather for a day out with family, but also reflected on Memorial Day’s deeply personal meaning for him.
“What it means to me is not only the people who’ve sacrificed their lives in war, but the people who signed up for the military to say ‘Hey, I’m willing to fight for this country,’ said Mastroieni. “I think about all the people who said ‘Yes I will do this for my country.’”
More information on Do Good Multnomah and resources for veterans can be found here.
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