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Next Tuesday, we celebrate Veterans Day, and Louisville is poised to celebrate those brave men and women who have bled, fought, and died to preserve and protect our freedoms. We may disagree, from time to time, concerning our country's decision to use military force as an instrument of foreign policy. Our leaders are not always prudent. The need for military intervention is often not clear. But it is the job of the armed forces is to obey orders, not to make policy.
During the Revolutionary War, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail, in which he said, "I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy." The philosophers in our country are, perhaps, still in the generations to come, but our hats are off to all the men and women who have fought our country's battles. Even when foolish politicians have sent you off to foreign jungles and deserts you've fought bravely, often displaying amazing valor and resourcefulness. While politicians have taken the credit, or tried to avoid the blame, the armed forces have shed real blood around the globe.
So, it is more than fitting that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the Veterans Community Alliance (VCAL) of Louisville welcome the second annual Mayor’s Week of Valor — a week-long series of events to honor and celebrate the contributions of active-duty military, veterans and their families. Coinciding with Veterans Day, the Week of Valor events focus on honoring veterans’ contributions to their country and facilitating their successful transition back to civilian life.
“It’s our goal to make Louisville the most supportive and responsive community in the nation for veterans,” Fischer said. “By raising awareness during the Week of Valor, we can help ensure that every veteran living in Louisville has the coordinated support and access to services for an optimal quality of life.”
More than 56,000 veterans live in Louisville – and approximately 20,000 more post-9/11 veterans are expected to return to Kentucky in the next five years. As suicide rates, addiction, homelessness and unemployment have grown among veterans, there is an urgent need for coordinated services.
Mayor’s Week of Valor activities include:
Friday, November 6 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, November 7 at 4 p.m.
Carry the Fallen 22 Challenge Ruck March
Location: Cherokee Scenic Loop
More information: A 22 hour relay-style ruck march to remember the 22 veterans a day who commit suicide. The relay event will allow participants to walk any distance and the public is welcome to attend. The event will also have acoustic musical entertainment and vendors. www.activeheroes.org
Contact: Active Heroes, Scott Bruzek; email@example.com
Saturday, November 7 from 12:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Team Red, White & Blue hosts Workout of the Day-Armistice
Location: Crossfit Covalence, 530 Barret Ave.
More information: Louisville’s Team Red, White & Blue community joins with 150 locations around the country to provide a functional tribute workout that uses all forms of exercise to help veterans set and achieve goals, re-energize a sense of purpose and form bonds in the community to strengthen the nation’s connection between veterans and civilians. www.wodwithwarriors.com
Sunday, November 8 at 2 p.m. (onsite registration beginning at noon)
Run With Our Heroes 5K
Location: University of Louisville Campus (behind Ernst Hall and Speed School off Eastern Pkwy.)
More information: This run/walk celebrates all branches of the military, veterans and their families. Proceeds from the Run with Our Heroes 5K will support the U of L Student Veterans Services Fund and Veterans Behavioral Health Programs at Seven Counties Services. Join us and celebrate the men and women who have so proudly served our nation!
Register online at www.runwithourheroes.org.
Contact: Susan Norsworthy; firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, November 9 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. (Registration 5:30-6 p.m.)
Kentucky Veterans of Year Banquet
Location: Brown & Williamson Club, 2800 S Floyd Street
More information: This annual event honors one male and one female Kentucky veteran for their heroic efforts defending our country and our Commonwealth’s way of life, in addition to honoring and celebrating each and every veteran living in the state of Kentucky. www.kentuckyveteransoftheyear.org
Contact: John Mustain, (502) 637-4440 or email@example.com
Tuesday, November 10 from 8 -9:30 a.m.
Louisville Business First Salute to Veterans
Location: Noah’s Event Venue, 12451 Plantside Drive
More information: This annual breakfast will honor 23 veterans who impact the Louisville business community. The featured speaker will be Colonel Walter Hurd. Tickets can be purchased at http://bizj.us/15a8fr
Contact: Nikki Deese, (502) 498-1933 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, November 10 from 5 - 8 p.m.
2015 VA Welcome Home Event “From War to Home” Traveling Exhibit
Location: Robley Rex VA Medical Center, 800 Zorn Avenue
More Information: “From War to Home Exhibit” explores the realities of military service through words and images from Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and local Veterans’ Art Work from the community and the Kentucky Center Arts in Healing program. http://www.louisville.va.gov/
Contact: Laura Schafsnitz, (502)287-4227 or email@example.com
Wednesday, November 11 at 11 a.m.
Veterans Day Parade & Massing of the Colors
Location: Downtown Louisville –Main Street from Second Street to Sixth Street. The first unit will arrive at the Review Stand at the steps of the Kentucky Center for the Arts at 11:11 a.m. The Massing of the Colors will take place at the Review Stand as soon as the last parade unit passes that position at approximately noon. www.louvetparade.com.
Contact: Dell Courtney, (502) 228-5237 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, November 11 from 4 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Active Heroes Pound Challenge & Telethon in Partnership with WAVE 3
Location: The Factory Gym, 2510 Hurstbourne Gym Lane
More information: Active Heroes and gym partners across America will work to lift 22 million pounds to raise donations and awareness to end veteran suicide. WAVE 3 will host a telethon in partnership with The Factory Gym. www.activeheroes.org
Contact: Active Heroes Jeremy Sneed, email@example.com
Thursday, November 12 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Warrior’s Heart & Harvest
Location: 201 S. Peterson Avenue
More information: Join the Athena Sisters for a free spaghetti dinner as they pay tribute to our sisters and brothers during the Mayor’s Week of Valor. This is a child-friendly event with various children’s activities and games. Partners include Warrior's Heart & Harvest, Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky and the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. http://athenassisters.us/
Contact: Lindsay Gargotto; Lindsay@athenassisters.us
Saturday, November 14 from 10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Veterans Complimentary Care Expo
Location: Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville Road
More information: Robley Rex VA Medical Center is hosting this event to showcase complementary care programs and activities provided to Veterans by Robley Rex VA Medical Center and community partners. Examples of complementary care programs represented are Arts in Healing, Yoga Warriors, Dancing Well: The Soldier Project, Paws for Purpose, Acupuncture and many more. The event is free and open to the public. www.louisville.va.gov
Contact: Laura Schafsnitz, (502)287-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, November 14 from 2 - 4 p.m.
Adaptive Sports Rollout
Location: Allgeier Community Center, 4101 Cadillac Ct., off Poplar Level Road.
More Information: Metro Parks Adaptive Leisure Services, Frazier Rehab and Paralyzed Adapted Sporting Opportunities in Louisville will be available to assist veterans with mobility issues. Paralympic athletes will be on hand to visit with veterans and demonstrate their sports. www.louisvilleky.gov/metroparks
Contact: BJ Levis, (502)744-0507 or BJ.Levis@louisvilleky.gov
All Week Long
Community Service Projects to Support Veterans and Veteran Families
More information: Volunteers of America Mid-States (VOAMID) will be coordinating volunteer opportunities with individuals, businesses and civic groups to support veterans and veteran families being served by veteran service organizations throughout the Mayor’s Week of Valor. In an effort to support and integrate community relationships, VOAMID, in collaboration with VCAL, will connect the community with various projects and organizations throughout the week. www.voamid.org and www.vcalouisville.org.
Contact: Donna Trabue at email@example.com
The Mayor’s Week of Valor is supported by the Veterans Community Alliance of Louisville (VCAL). VCAL is an initiative launched in 2014 by a group of young professionals participating in Leadership Louisville’s IGNITE program in conjunction with Volunteers of America Mid-States and Seven Counties Services. VCAL is comprised and led by more than 50 individuals representing corporate, non-profit, government and civic organizations. VCAL’s mission is to create an integrated network of support for veterans and their families by coordinating services, resources, and initiatives to increase communication across organizational lines, enhance quality and delivery of service, and promote veteran-friendly community relations in Louisville. To learn more about the Mayor’s Week of Valor Events and the Veterans Community Alliance of Louisville, visit www.vcalouisville.org.