Milwaukee Veteran’s Fallen Hero Honor Ride, 100 Miles, 1,700 Following
MILWAUKEE – In honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, a retired Army colonel walked 100 miles on Memorial Day in memory of six paratroopers killed in action in Afghanistan.
Retired Army Col. Chris Kolenda and another man completed the 100 miles at the Milwaukee War Memorial, honoring the men who were part of Kolenda’s unit.
It was just part of a much larger journey that was taking place in September.
In the final 100-mile stage, Kolenda and Chris Marschka pushed, rolling into a goal.
“I’m thinking of six names, Chris Pfeifer, Adrian Hike, Jacob Lowell, Ryan Fritische, David Boris and Tom Botstick,” Kolenda said.
He was part of the Fallen Hero Honor Ride, honoring six paratroopers killed in action in 2007. Kolenda led the soldiers during a deployment to Afghanistan.
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“I want to help the veterans of our unit, their families, their deceased to be able to achieve their dreams,” Kolenda said.
The 100-mile ride ended at the War Memorial with a benefit to raise funds for the families of the dead and a scholarship created for Milwaukee youth. Most of them didn’t know the soldiers but wanted to make sure they were never forgotten.
“The least I can do is help out a little and help raise money to keep their memories alive,” Marschka said.
The 100 miles was just a small part of a much larger journey that takes place in September. Kolenda will ride solo for 1,700 miles. He will make stops where each of the six soldiers is buried.
“I look forward to spending time with the families at each of the graves,” Kolenda said.
The ride aims to honor the dead and give back to those who are still here.
“Memorial Day is about our war dead,” Kolenda said. “This foundation is about the living.”
This 1,700 mile journey will begin in Nebraska and end at Arlington National Cemetery. Kolenda is still fundraising.