“Walk 2 Remember” brings more people to celebrate Veterans Day

Lt. Col. Jessica Williss led the contracting oath at the Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, with cadets Jacob Gaudio (center), Jerry Farmer (left) and Daniel Shanahan (right). (Photo: Jamie Sapp)
Lt. Col. Jessica Williss led the contracting oath at the Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, with cadets Jerry Farmer (left), Jacob Gaudio (center) and Daniel Shanahan (right). (Photo: Jamie Sapp)

By Jamie Sapp and Alexandria Bennett | Staff Writers

From a sunny Thursday morning to a sunny Friday morning, volunteers of different ages and backgrounds participated in a walkathon to honor a special moment for veterans.

The Augusta University ROTC program held the 2nd Annual Walk 2 Remember and Veterans Day celebration during Nov. 10-11 on the Summerville campus in honor of Veterans Day.

The ROTC program have made numerous efforts into making the walkathon an important tradition on campus, where people can join in the 24-hour walkathon on the campus historic walk.
The purpose of the event is not only to raise money for the Augusta Warrior Project, but it was also to honor veterans who served in the U.S. military and the veterans who died during their service.

Capt. Kenneth DeMars is a training officer and an associate professor in the ROTC program at Augusta University. Having spent 20 years in the military service, DeMars knows what it means to physically and mentally become a soldier.

During the walkathon, DeMars remained active on the campus historic walk in order to meet his goal of 50 miles. Despite having a broken toe, DeMars continued walking and surpassed his goal with 60 miles.

DeMars said he wants more students and university administration to participate in the walkathon.

“It’s more than the ROTC’s event,” he said. “It is Augusta University’s event.”

Understanding how significant and honorable Veterans Day is for people on campus, DeMars said he does not want the tradition to die out.

For the 1st Annual Walk 2 Remember event, there were 87 volunteers that participated in the 24-hour walkathon. In this year’s event, 120 volunteers participated in the walkathon.

After the walkathon, a ceremony soon followed in celebration of Veterans Day. Students, faculty and guests were welcomed at the honorable celebration, which took place on Nov. 11 around 11 a.m. at the D. Douglas Barnard Amphitheatre.

Col. Louis A. DelTufo began the ceremony with welcoming remarks and the invocation, following the introduction of honored guests. Honored guests included Augusta University President Brooks Keel, Master Sgt. James D. Richardson and Col. Alprentice “Al” Smith.

A moment of silence followed during the ceremony. Then, the Augusta University Band performed Taps that was accompanied by Dr. John Wojcik, the director of the Wind Ensemble and an associate professor of music at the university.

Lt. Col. Jessica Williss, department chair of military science, led the contracting oath with cadets Jacob Gaudio, Jerry Farmer and Daniel Shanahan. Other contracting cadets in the Augusta University ROTC program also included Megan Sweeney and Jacorei Smith.

For music, guest Neema Colon sang the National Anthem after the invocation and the Augusta University Chorus performed the Armed Forces Medley, which was accompanied by Kevin Pollock.

Jacob Gaudio, 24, is a junior ROTC student at Augusta University. He said it was a long, one-year process for him into becoming a soldier.

“The important thing is to keep working hard to help others and save the country in the best way that I can,” he said.

As for DeMars, he said he wants Walk 2 Remember to remain as a tradition for Augusta University just as every other worthwhile walks that have occurred on campus.

Contact Jamie Sapp at jsapp270@augusta.edu and Alexandria Bennett abenne19@augusta.edu.

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