Filling their boots for charity

Soldiers advertise annual fundraising boot drive

Capt Fahim Awan, LS Luis Lemus, MCpl Brad Axworthy, and MS Sarah Zimmer hold up boots and a sign, ready for their fundraising drive.

The third annual Nijmegen boot drive in support of the Military Families Fund and Soldier On is taking place May 14 from 6:30 to 8 a.m. at the entrance gates to Dockyard, Naden and Colwood.

“We are hoping to raise between $5,000 and $6,000 this year for these charities,” said Nijmegen team leader, CPO2 Chris Koblun.

The Military Families Fund provides financial assistance for emergencies caused by the conditions of military service while the Soldier On Fund helps offset the costs for injured soldiers to maintain an active lifestyle.

“When we initially did the boot drive, we were blown away with the support from the DND community and in one and a half hours our marching team collected more than $6,000 in donations. Last year we did it again and raised roughly the same amount. It’s for a great cause and we’d like to thank everyone for their continued support,” he said.

The Nijmegen team began training at the end of February and just completed their first 40 kilometre march. To date, they have marched more than 400 kilometres.

“The 40 kilometre back to back march takes place June 6 and 7 with team selection happening on June 10 when nine marchers will be selected from 20 candidates for the team,” said CPO2 Koblun.

As Nijmegen approaches, the team trains five days a week, marching 60 kilometres.

The 97th annual Nijmegen march takes place July 16 – 19 in the Netherlands and is the largest marching event in the world involving over 45,000 military members and civilians. Canadian military members will march 160 kilometres over four days in CADPAT carrying a backpack weighing at least 10 kilograms.

-Shelley Lipke, Staff Writer

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