Marines march by West Michigan to boost consciousness, cash for veteran organizations

ALLENDALE, Michigan – Side by side and step by step, a group of current and former Marines set out along 68th Avenue in Allendale on Sunday.

“It was good, it was fun,” said Ryan Hucks. “Our bodies hurt, but it was interesting to walk the path.”

Hucks, Daniel Kersting and Alex Livingston have been traveling all over Michigan since Friday. The hike started in Lansing and ends in Grand Haven on Memorial Day.

Last year, Kersting, who lives in the Greater Grand Rapids area, felt the need to give something back. So he called a few friends and created “100 miles for a mission. ”

“I just asked them to do this crazy thing and they said ‘OK’,” said Kersting.

Each leg is dedicated to raising awareness and spending money on it Everything possible, a non-profit providing trauma relief to children, women and war-torn service members, and Mighty Oaks Foundationthat is more focused on the veterans and their transition home.

“They don’t know exactly what your paycheck, health care, benefits, and anything that almost raises doubts,” Hucks said. “I think that’s the hardest part, not knowing if you have a place.”

Kersting went through the program himself after his service and says he can confirm its effect.

“They have a faith-based program that is really down to the core and really helping these veterans,” Kersting said. “It’s not just about awareness. They come to the problem and help you overcome it. “

The group says they raised $ 10,000 and hope each step makes a difference in helping veterans and those around them.

At the end of the trip there will be a Murph Challenge at Grand Haven City Beach at 4 p.m.

It is an annual training designed to honor those who have died while serving.

Anyone can join, but a $ 30 donation to one of the organizations is recommended.