Patriot Ruck honors military members
September 9th, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
September 9th, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
The determination on former Army Staff Sergeant Alan Bryl-Sieradzki was apparent as he ran down Detroit’s riverfront to complete the Patriot Ruck, a 6-mile route to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of military members, veterans and first responders who have served since the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001.
Bryl-Sieradzki, a technician for General Motors, ran up the steps to Hart Plaza to finish the event strong, with the clock showing approximately 1 hour, 18 minutes. He was intent on maintaining the Army infantry standard, which means completing a 12-mile march in three hours. Given his time and distance, he was well ahead of pace, and despite the rigor of also carrying a 50-pound rucksack on his back to simulate the burden that all those who serve our country bear, he looked like he could’ve gone even further.
Approximately 1,000 people participated in the third annual Patriot Ruck, organized by the Wins For Warriors Foundation that was founded by former Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and his wife Kate Upton. While Bryl-Sieradzki and others completed the 6-mile course, there was also a 3-mile course that offered a less rigorous challenge. As it did last year, Pink Energy served as the presenting sponsor for the event, as the company has such deep appreciation for everyone who keeps our nation free.
“It’s still moving to see how much everyday people still support and show up not only for the military but all emergency first responders,” Bryl-Sieradzki said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s too bad that generations past didn’t get that support. It’s good that today that we live in a place where everybody can unite and come together and support the sacrifices made by everyone who raises a hand to volunteer and signs up for that.”
While Bryl-Sieradzki had something to prove to himself on this Sunday, others sought the opportunity to share the moment together. That’s why six members of the Monroe Township Fire Department, led by Captain David Nadeau, donned full gear and carried air packs on their back. All told, it was about 85 pounds of equipment each that they carried along the 3-mile course.
Nadeau is a former Marine with a connection to 9/11. After the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York were destroyed by terrorist attacks, Nadeau felt compelled to join the rescue and recovery efforts in Manhattan. He arrived on the morning of Sept. 12 and stayed nine days.
“They told me, go take care of your country, we’ll take care of your family,” Nadeau said of his employer at the time. “I never lost a paycheck.”
Nadeau was appreciative of this event, and hopes it spawns even more like it.
“It’s something I think we forgot,” Nadeau said. “I’ve heard the story that we need a 9/12. The next day after 9/11 and the weeks after, everybody was together. It didn’t matter what color, religion, whatever it was, we all came together. This is what we need to do more of. I think we got away from that.”
Remembering others was a point of emphasis for two Marines of Weapons Company 1/24 based out of Perrysburg, Ohio. Gunnery Sergeant Cole Hoyt and Sergeant Andrew Springer participated to raise awareness for veteran suicides, given the combat stressors military members endure. That is especially true for Hoyt and Springer, as their unit is a heavy weapons platoon. Hoyt’s wife told him that since he’s been in the Marines, combat has changed him. Both know the physical, mental and emotional toll that serving your country can take.
“Twenty-two (suicides) a day is too many,” Springer said.
Such a statistic showcases that freedom is not free, and is nothing to take for granted. That’s why part of Pink Energy’s mission is to ensure that the sacrifices others make for our country are not forgotten. We appreciate and respect everything that members of the military and first responders do, and we also are grateful for veterans who have also served. Pink Energy wants to do all we can to honor you. This is just one step in that direction.