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Cambria County Hero Hike to benefit veterans group

Tribune-Democrat - 5/5/2018

May 05--Cambria County is hosting an event designed to bring local veterans and other county residents closer together.

The second annual Cambria County Hero Hike will be held on the Ghost Town Trail on May 19, Josh Hauser, the county's director of veteran services, said at a news conference Friday.

"It was great to see so many people join us on the hike last year. We had a great time just enjoying the trail and sharing stories, and we're excited to see how many will join us this year," Hauser said.

Starting at 9 a.m., participants will walk a 7.3-mile stretch of the trail, beginning at the Nanty Glo trailhead, 1097 First St., and ending at an underpass near the Ebensburg trailhead, 424 Prave St.

Runners and bicyclists are also welcome.

A brief ceremony will be held after the hike, beginning at noon at the underpass. Hauser encouraged those who would like to participate, but can't or don't want to traverse the entire 7.3-mile distance, to join the group for the ceremony.

A shuttle and driver provided by Med-Van will be available to ferry participants back to Nanty Glo after the hike, Hauser said.

Donations are encouraged, but not required. All money raised will go to Veterans Community Initiatives, a Johnstown-based nonprofit organization that assists veterans and their families. Last year's inaugural event had 115 participants and raised more than $2,000 for VCI.

Those who pre-register by Tuesday and make a donation of $15 or more will receive a commemorative T-shirt. As of Friday, around 60 people had pre-registered, according to Hauser. Anyone who wants to pre-register should call VCI at 814-255-0355.

Cambria County President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky, who participated in Friday's news conference with fellow Commissioner Mark Wissinger, said that the event helps highlight two of the county's greatest assets: its veteran population and its trail system.

Also speaking at the news conference were Caytlin Lusk, program specialist for the Cambria County Conservation and Recreation Authority, and Tom Caulfield, founder and president of VCI.

Other upcoming veterans' events hosted by VCI and/or Cambria County include:

--Military Spouse Appreciation Day, noon May 11, at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, 326 Napoleon St., Johnstown.

--Rural Veterans Outreach Program, at which experts and advocates will discuss topics including healthcare, PTSD, veterans' support groups and job search assistance, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.May 23 at Reade Township Municipal Building, 1032 Skyline Drive, Blandburg.

--Laurel Wood/Amber Springs Veterans Care Center Memorial Day Breakfast, 9 a.m.May 25.

--Veterans Court graduation, 10:30 a.m.May 29 at the Cambria County Courthouse.

--An open house marking VCI's 25th anniversary, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.June 14 at the VCI offices at the Hiram G. Andrews Center, 727 Goucher St., Upper Yoder Township.

Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.

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(c)2018 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)

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