Sam Ruiz and Staff Sgt. Kim Rauch at the SV Community Center prior to heading out on the 12th Annual Veterans Day Road March. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
Sam Ruiz and Staff Sgt. Kim Rauch at the SV Community Center prior to heading out on the 12th Annual Veterans Day Road March. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

SPRING VALLEY, WI – Snowy ground and chilly weather didn’t impede the mission or the tradition of the hearty twenty plus walkers that assembled at the Spring Valley Community Center for the 12th Annual Veterans Day Road March last Sunday, November 11, 2018 beginning at 9:00 a.m. It was a chilly blustery fall (more like winter) morning again this year. But that only served to strengthen the resolve of the marchers to honor those who have served our country by walking the 7.1 miles along the traditional route on the Veterans Memorial State Highway 29.

The tradition of the Annual Veterans Day Road March began with three local vets to bring awareness and remembrance to our veterans. Annually since 2006, National Guard Reservists Wyatt Anderson, Andy Johansen, and Matt Dodge have marched from the downtown of the Village of Spring Valley west along Veterans Memorial State Highway 29 all the way out to the Red Barn near Martell in Pierce County, Wisconsin at Highway 63 some 7 miles away from the Village.

Others have always been invited to join the walk at any point or to cheer them on at any point along the route and this year was no exception to that.

Vets included in the core group of the March in the past were: SFC Retired Wyatt Anderson, Spring Valley-Retired 22 years, 2 Iraq deployments, SFC Matt Dodge, Woodbury, MN - 19 years, 3 deployments (twice to Iraq, once to Jordan) and last year deployed to Florida for hurricane relief, 1SG Retired Ryan Steckman, Maple Grove, MN - Retired 20 years, 5 Iraq deployments, Major Andy Johansen, Spring Valley - 25 years who was also deployed last year to Florida for hurricane relief. They were joined by other vets this year such as Staff Sgt. Kim Rauch with the Army National Guard 134 BSV Red Bulls of Camp Ripley, Minnesota and her friend retired Guardsman Sam Ruiz.

Wyatt Anderson’s wife Katie reported to the Sun-Argus, “It was great to see such a big turnout on such a cold day. Thank you to everyone who joined us, Spring Valley Bakery for donuts and the Village of Spring Valley for use of the Community Center.”

As the group has stated in the past, “The best way to thank a veteran is to be an American worth fighting for.”