Legacy march raises money for veterans

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In 2010, Jonathan Schoef and Victoria Amador. two Norwich students, expanded on a hallmark feature of the Norwich education founded by Capt. Alden Partridge. “Alden Partridge used to take students out on long excursions,” explained Brendan Kane, a junior Chinese major from Manchester, N.H. This age-old tradition is now known as the Legacy March.

“The Legacy March started up as a competition to create a project for a couple of engineering students and instead of using it as a competition, they decided to use it as a charity event. It since has just kept going,” said Kane.
Kane participated in the march as a rook and progressed to helping organize when it was held this year Oct 30 to Nov. 1. He explained that because it was a charity event, and partially honoring Capt. Alden Partridge’s tradition, he wanted to help.
“That is what this march is about. We march from Norwich, Vermont, and then back to campus, all while raising money for charities,” Kane said.
This year around 50 students walked the Legacy March raising approximately $2500. This figure, in addition to funds raised on dress-down day (a day where corps’ students were allowed to wear civilian clothes) yielded a grand total of $4,500 raised. This money was donated to the Northfield Veterans’ Place, according to Jessica Gnacke, a junior chemistry major from Wesland, Mich., who also helped to organize the march.
“There will be a ceremony where all the corps members who participated in the march, will get to present the check to the Northfield Veterans’ Place,” said Gnacke.
This year earned Gnacke the title of a two-year participant in the march. She decided to return to the event to give back and help in the planning phase.
“I heard about it my freshman year. My roommate and I decided to do it. So we went on it and found out that not only was it a fundraiser for charities, but we also had the opportunity to hear the history of our school,” Gnacke said.
The participants hoofed along 50 miles over dirt roads, hills, and a span of three days to make it back to the Wick. The trek started in Norwich Village at the school’s original foundations.
A junior history major from Winchester, Va., Scott Zerull also partook in the Legacy March for his second time this year. He said the weather was great and the morale was high as the participants marched.
“The Legacy March this year was great. Not only did civilian and corps students participate but so did members from the Norwich University community. Even veterans came out,” Zerull said.
Kane echoed Zerull’s sentiments, explaining “We raised money for homeless veterans this year. After all that they have done, going off to fight for this country, it is the least we can do.”
Kane mentioned that a lot of students are planning to join the military after college or have family in the military. That is why marching to raising money for veterans are such a big deal. Zerull added that having nice weather topped it all off.
“We were really lucky to have the great weather that we did. Most of the time you expect bad weather, but from Thursday through Saturday, it was nearly perfect. The sun was shining and all the stops were planned out perfectly so we all got just enough rest.”
The long days of hard marching did not come without a deserving reward, and the marchers were able to rest comfortably each night at pre-planned stops along the way.
“This year we stopped at the Sharon Academy and at Vermont Technical College to sleep but during the day when we are marching we stopped along the road to eat. If anyone needs more water we have a vehicle that follows us with such supplies,” Gnacke said.
“Sodexo actually provided a breakfast and a dinner for everyone who marched. There were also sponsors who helped out as well. We even had a Veteran whose house we stopped at. He let us rest on his lawn and eat our lunch.”
The Legacy March may have started out as a project for students, but today it has progressed into an incredible charity event that sets the bar for Norwich’s commitment to giving back to the community and veterans.
So if you missed out on the event this year, fear not: There are still many more veterans to thank, and many, many more miles to be marched.

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