March 29, 2018

UW-Superior marches for 23rd Veteran organization

A team from UW-Superior tested its physical abilities while braving the elements in 23rd Veteran’s Nearly Naked Ruck March, which took place Saturday, March 31, in Duluth, Minn. From left, Nathan Nelson, Josh Hogan, Monte Stewart and Katelyn Baumann.

A team from UW-Superior tested its physical abilities while braving the elements in 23rd Veteran’s Nearly Naked Ruck March, which took place Saturday, March 31, in Duluth, Minn. From left, Nathan Nelson, Josh Hogan, Monte Stewart and Katelyn Baumann.

Team of students and staff from UW-Superior took part in 23rd Veteran's Nearly Naked Ruck March in Duluth

It’s one thing to wake up early on a Saturday morning. It’s entirely different to wake up early on a Saturday morning for a 10-mile hike along the shore of an icy Lake Superior on Duluth’s Lakewalk. Factor in a heavy backpack while wearing less clothing than appropriate for late March in the Twin Ports, and the idea borders on ridiculous – until you know the reason behind the decision.

A team from the University of Wisconsin-Superior tested its physical abilities while braving the elements to take part in 23rd Veteran’s Nearly Naked Ruck March.

“I got involved in planning the Ruck because all the funds go to strengthening 23rd Veteran’s mission, and it’s a fun way to be engaged and active in supporting veterans,” said Katelyn Baumann, Interim Coordinator of Academic Service-Learning at UW-Superior and 23rd Veteran board member. She, along with UW-Superior student Greg Sundstrom, have been involved with the planning of the event since October.

The Nearly Naked Ruck March began at 8:30 a.m. in Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park. Participants departed at 10 a.m. wearing long underwear – and often less – while carrying a pack for 5-miles along the Lakewalk and up to Duluth East High School before turning around and heading back to Canal Park. The weight of the pack during this 10-mile roundtrip is determined by the amount of donations collected.

“Every $10 that is raised is a pound of weight in the pack,” said Baumann. “As a team, the weight is divided among members. The weight represents the weight that veterans and current service women and men carry from combat stress. It’s very symbolic carrying that weight.”

The team from UW-Superior, which included staff members Baumann and Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center Coordinator Monte Stewart and students Tim Nesley, Nate Nelson, and Josh Hogan, carried between 20 and 25 pounds each. The packs are often filled with canned goods or clothes that were donated after the march to the local food shelf and the Disabled American Veterans.

“Participating in this event was a natural fit,” said Baumann. “We’ve had some service learning partnerships before with 23rd Veteran and this is a great way for the university to stay connected in support of veterans.”

For UW-Superior, which has been named to Military Times Best Colleges for eight consecutive years, a connection to 23rd Veteran has been beneficial for the campus and the community.

“Their mission is to empower veterans to lead successful lives,” said Baumann. “They do that through a long-term transition program called 23V Recon that executive director Mike Waldron started about three years ago. There is a large number of service men and women that do not properly transition back into civilian life when they leave the military. 23rd Veteran developed a program that combines physical fitness with positive psychology. When enrolled in the program, veterans have reported being happier and more successful in their professional and personal lives.”

A team from UW-Superior tested its physical abilities while braving the elements in 23rd Veteran’s Nearly Naked Ruck March, which took place Saturday, March 31, in Duluth, Minn. From left, Nathan Nelson, Josh Hogan, Monte Stewart and Katelyn Baumann.

A team from UW-Superior tested its physical abilities while braving the elements in 23rd Veteran’s Nearly Naked Ruck March, which took place Saturday, March 31, in Duluth, Minn. From left, Nathan Nelson, Josh Hogan, Monte Stewart and Katelyn Baumann.

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