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    NY National Guard Troops Support Christmas Eve Road March

    2021 Christmas Eve Road March

    Photo By Sgt. Andrew Valenza | New York Army National Guard Soldiers volunteer to lead the Christmas Eve Road March...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Andrew Valenza 

    New York National Guard

    GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — Twenty-five New York National Guard Soldiers spent their Christmas Eve holiday on a four-mile road march around Glens Falls, New York dedicated to making sure deployed military members aren’t forgotten at Christmas time.

    After a year off in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SFC Coon’s Christmas Eve Road March returned with 300 participants this year.

    Named after retired New York Army National Guard recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Arthur Coon, who started it in 2004, the march highlights the service of those away from home.

    The crowd included current Soldiers and Airmen, veterans, Gold Star and military families and community supporters, many of whom said they were excited to see the event return.

    The event is a way for Soldiers to pay it forward, said Cpl. Kimberlee Farris, a signal support specialist assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry. Farris was deployed in 2020 to Kuwait and Jordan and said participating now has new meaning.

    “It feels great,” Farris said. “A little different now, though because I can relate to it.”

    This year’s road march took on new meaning for many of the people involved, Coon said, because of the COVID-19 restrictions from last year.

    “We didn’t have the road march last year, not in its full form,” Coon said. “I think we’ve been through a lot with COVID and this is one of the things we always look forward to. We’re sending a message to anybody not home for Christmas that we’re remembering them.”

    Another major setback to the community event in 2020 was a personal one for Coon.

    In the midst of the pandemic of 2020, Coon suffered a stroke. Now that he’s recovered, he has a new perspective on the significance of the road march for everyone involved, thanks to the support he personally received from the community.

    “We don’t always know when we need help,” Coon said. “But it’s always awesome to know, it’s there when we need it. We are thankful that we had so much support after my stroke. [Being back] feels incredible. I was very nervous about it, but I think the energy of the marchers helped me get through it.”

    Last time Army National Guard Spc. Justin Phillips took part in the march he was a civilian. Now as a Soldier, home from basic training for Christmas, being part of the march means more, he said.

    “It means quite a bit to me because I have the opportunity to come home, and I want to be able to show my support for those who can’t,” Phillips said.



    Date Taken: 12.24.2021
    Date Posted: 12.27.2021 15:25
    Story ID: 411937
    Location: GLENS FALLS, NY, US 

    Web Views: 60
    Downloads: 0