Veterans making 90-mile march to raise awareness

Local News

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A local Army veteran is back on the road making his fourth annual march from Chicopee to Boston.

Retired Army Staff Sgt. James Chartier makes the 90-mile march to the Massachusetts State House each year to raise awareness for veterans suffering from PTSD and homelessness.

“Our veterans deserve better. Plain and simple,” Chartier said. “They need the resources to readjust to civilian life after they come back from combat.”

This year, the retired Army staff sergeant has more people marching with him than ever before.

Among the five men marching is Executive Director of the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center Gumersindo Gomez. Gomez retired from the Army back in 1986 after 20 years of service.

“I’ve served veterans for the last 32 years after my retirement and this is the place to be if you feel for them,” Gomez said. “Our veterans need help and what these men are doing right now are trying to raise the funds that we need so we can help to those veterans and families.”

Chartier also has a current service member taking the journey with him. Westover Air Reserve Base aircraft mechanic Staff Sgt. Antonio Peals decided to make the 90-mile trek after seeing a flyer at a local convenience store.

“He’s bringing really good awareness to the mental health crisis in the military and I think it’s a really good thing for him to come out and sacrifice his time, his health to bring awareness,” Peals said.

Chartier and his crew stepped off at 7:00 a.m. Friday from the AmVets Post 172 in Chicopee. They are scheduled to arrive at the State House in Boston Monday afternoon.

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