Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Mansfield firefighters, police take on Tough Ruck, support veterans

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MANSFIELD – Wicked Local by Donna Whitehead – Imagine running the Boston Marathon, 26.2 miles of pounding the pavement from Hopkinton to Boston. Now add a 35-pound pack. That’s the Tough Ruck.

For the Tough Ruck, held in partnership with the Boston Athletic Association, military and civilians walk in memory of fallen service members, police, firefighters and EMTs. Donations go to the Military Friends Foundation to support military families in times of need.

This year, the Mansfield’s First Responders Unified Team will take part in the 2018 Tough Ruck on Saturday, April 14, a 26.2-mile march along the Minute Man National Historical Park trail in Concord.

The Mansfield team includes Mansfield police officers Gregg Kennedy, Derek McCune and Tony Lattanzio, Mansfield Firefighters Local 1820 members Gary Reagan, Keith Hodson, Ian Macdonald, and Mansfield resident Brian Sexton.

Macdonald served with the US Army in Iraq, and Kennedy served in the Army in Qatar.

Firefighter/paramedic Reagan is organizing the team. Reagan participated last year but this is the first time Mansfield first responders have a team at the Rough Truck.

Reagan served as a combat medic in the Army National Guard. He said he remembered how people helped his wife when he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. The Military Friends Foundation provides support like that to military families and is a New England based charity, he said.

He said the Tough Ruck experience also reminds him of the “old camaraderie and brotherhood” of his military service time.

Reagan will be wearing a ribbon on his pack at this year’s Tough Ruck in memory of this friend, Zach Sparling, who recently passed away in Washington State. The two served together in Afghanistan in 2010.

 

The only civilian, Sexton, joined the team in support of Mansfield first responders who helped him and his family when his baby daughter Victoria was seriously ill and needed an ambulance. Today, Victoria is a year old and doing well, Reagan said.

On April 15, 2013, the Tough Ruck members were at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and joined the first responders to help.

Today the Ruck happens in Concord the Saturday before Boston Marathon Monday. Each year Ruckers are awarded official Boston Marathon Medals and receive recognition from the BAA.

Each team member needs to raise $950 to participate. Reagan said he has met his goal with help from Facebook but some of the other team members are still working on theirs. Go tohttps://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/mansfield-first-responders to donate.

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