ANTIOCH -- A surge of patriotism will be winding its way through the streets of Antioch on Saturday to celebrate Armed Forces Day during the East County Veterans' annual "Walk for a Warrior" walk-a-thon.

"Bring your spirit -- patriotism -- dress over the top," said ECV founder Josie Monaghan, in regard to those planning to come out and join the fun.

Armed Services Day, established back in 1949, is a day to celebrate and honor those currently serving active duty in the armed forces and the skills of all branches.

Monaghan, the mother of a Marine who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, knows just how important it is for Americans to come out and show their support and patriotism to the troops.

"We still have to keep the momentum, and keep the community motivated for all the troops that are still deployed," she said.

Especially now, Monaghan added.

"People don't think about that because it's not in the news anymore. But there are still a lot of families that are sending their loved ones to Afghanistan and to other parts of the world."

Antioch resident Jenna Osborn has raised money and attended the 2-mile walk-a-thon for the past two years and said she and her kids will be out there again this year. The walk begins and ends at the Veterans Resource Center at 1023 West Second St.

"I do it as a way to come together with my veteran community," said Osborn, the wife of an Air National Guardsman.


Advertisement

"My children always dress in some form of patriotic something," Osborn said. "The first year my boys dressed in authentic army camouflage outfits and my girls dressed in camouflage dresses to show support for their father who was in Iraq at the time."

Walkers are encouraged to bring flags, don red, white and blue or camouflage, bring a photo of any family member currently serving active duty -- and bring as many walk-a-thon pledges as possible.

"Just do the best you can with all the pledges," Monaghan said. "Let people know what you're doing and why you're doing it."

Funds raised from the event will benefit both the ECV Veterans Resource Center in Antioch and the Sean M. Walsh K-9 Memorial Foundation.

"The Veterans Resource Center networks with a lot of organizations in the community to provide information to all the veterans," Monaghan said. "And we also have a peer-to-peer component, which is veterans helping veterans."

The resource center opened only a year ago, but Monaghan said it's already helped several hundred veterans.

"Every Monday we have people come in and help (veterans) with their claims or starting benefits," she said.

"Any year veteran -- we have veterans in their 20s, all the way up into their 80s -- it doesn't really matter."

The Sean M. Walsh K-9 Memorial Foundation was founded by gold star mother Sharon Walsh after her son was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. Sean had envisioned becoming a canine handler after serving his country.

The foundation provides police K-9s to law enforcement agencies.

Registration and festivities kick off at 9 a.m. with a continental breakfast and a K-9 exhibition.

Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m., with a barbecue lunch and music following the two-mile walk.

Go to www.eastcountyveterans.org.

---

if you go
Walk for a Warrior begins and ends at the Veterans Resource Center located at 1023 West Second St. For more information, go to www.eastcountyveterans.org.