More than 100 people turned out throughout Saturday morning to participate in Ruckfest 2019, a 22-mile walk spanning from Kingsville to Riviera in honor of Memorial Day and those who have given their lives in service to the United States.
U.S. Army veteran Gumecindo De La Rosa organized the annual event, with the 22 miles symbolically representing the average number of military veterans who commit suicide every day.
Participants are encouraged to carry a pack weighing 22-pounds or more on their back, known as “rucking,” for the duration of the walk.
While Ruckfests held in prior years have started in Riviera and ended in Kingsville, this year’s walk traveled in the opposite direction, beginning at the war memorial located next to the Kleberg County Courthouse and continuing north on E. King Avenue to S. 14th Street, then following the road east past Kleberg Park to U.S. Highway 77 and on to Gumesindo De La Rosa Park in Riviera.
In addition to his usual walk in honor of his uncle, Gumesindo De La Rosa, who he is named after and who died in the Vietnam War, Gumecindo walked a few extra miles prior to the official start of Ruckfest in honor of two recently fallen servicemen: U.S. Army veteran Donald William Bunn, a “battle buddy” from North Carolina who died a couple of months ago, and U.S. Marine Capt. Jahmar Resilard, a pilot who was killed in a plane crash during routine training off the coast of Japan in December.
After arriving in Gumesindo De La Rosa Park, participants were provided a meal donated by De La Rosa’s family and others.
Anthony Ruiz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (361) 221-0251.