Marchers arrive at the celebration at Post 152 on Sunday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Dozens of American Legion members from Sutton marched their way through downtown North Adams on Sunday participating in the 100 Miles For Hope Walk.
The Sutton American Legion Post 414 veterans and Boy Scouts concluded their walk through the city at a celebration hosted by American Legion Post 125.
"It is just a big party to welcome them into the city," Post 125 Commander Mitchel Keil said. "We walked out to them last year because it is 100 miles from our post to their post, so it is our turn to host the reception."
What started out as a program to encourage fitness and wellness, became a national American Legion fundraising drive. Pledges and donations are collected by Legionnaires participating in the relay-style walk to benefit the National American Legions Veterans and Children Fund.
"It is a great way to build up that camaraderie that everyone is looking for, and it is easier to raise money when we work together," Keil said.
Keil said Post 414 and Post 125 are sister Legions.
Bill Halene, 414 past commander, added that families of servicemen and -women can tap this fund if they are in need. Also, active Coast Guard members can request money from the fund if the government shuts down.
"One Legion can do a lot for the community, and that is great," he said. "But when you start connecting with other Legions, you can just get more people involved because you have different outlooks from different sides of the state."
He said they have raised more than $2,000 in this campaign. Twenty-seven walkers started the trip with 17 making the final march into North Adams.
Walkers lined up on Ashland Street and made their way down Main Street after rendezvousing with Post 125 members. The American Legion Riders and a float from the Adams Post 160 led the convoy with its police escort. They swung a left down American Legion Drive terminating at Post 125.
Upon arrival, walkers were served hot food and serenaded by country music tribute band WailOn, which performed from a stage set up in the parking lot. Indoors, there were raffles.
"I am impressed we did a little something for them, but they kicked up to the next level," Hallene said.
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