Members of the Thomas Nelson staff and their families prepare to hit the trail after checking in at the Volksmarch 2021 start/finish line, behind the Peninsula Workforce Development Center, on 13 November. This year’s event was the most successful in the history of the event.
Thomas Nelson’s third annual Veterans Volksmarch, held on November 13th, proved to be the most successful yet. Almost 60 walkers took part in the annual event, which honors those who have served in the nation’s armed forces. This year’s Volksmarch was held on the Hampton Campus; previous walks were held at the Historic Triangle campus (2019) and the Sandy Bottom Nature Park in 2020.
“It was a great day,” said Gary Pounder, Assistant Director of Veterans Recruiting, Retention and Advising at TNCC. “In just three short years, the Volksmarch has become our most popular Veterans Day event, and we expect it to grow even more in the years to come.” The number of participants who turned out this year was almost twice the number recorded for the two earlier Volksmarches. Additionally, more than a dozen individuals donated to the event, but elected not to make the walk.
“The weather was perfect for a walk,” he continued. Most of the walkers chose a five-kilometer route that began at the PWDC and led them down Butler Farm Road to the Matteson Trail, which circles the Hampton Municipal Golf Course. After completing that circuit, walkers returned to the campus for a brief stroll before returning to the PWDC. A few participants selected the longer, 10-kilometer path that included the Matteson Trail and a longer stroll around TNCC’s Hampton Campus.
Putting on this year’s Volksmarch was not without its challenges. Due to COVID, the normal, six-month planning cycle for the college Veterans Day program was reduced to only two months, requiring a team effort to make the event happen. He extended special thanks to Sandy Croushore a retired Air Force officer and educator, who is President of the Peninsula Pathfinders, a local Volksmarch Club. TNCC has partnered with the Pathfinders for each of its Volksmarches. “Sandy and her team are absolutely the best,” Pounder observed. “They stage these events on a regular basis and they know how to run a Volksmarch. We couldn’t do it without them.”
While the event was free and open to the public, many participants elected to pay a $20 fee for a T-shirt and to make a donation to the TNCC Educational Foundation. After expenses are paid, the military team plans to make a donation towards scholarships for military-affiliated students at the college. Pounder said a few shirts are still available, in sizes large, extra large, and 2XL. You can purchase one by calling (757) 825-2938 or e-mail email@example.com
This year’s Volksmarch was the first held on a weekend. Organizers plan to follow that plan in 2022, since a Saturday schedule allows more people to participate.