GLENS FALLS — For the 15th year, people will be gathering in downtown Glens Falls on Christmas Eve to show their support for people serving in the military.
“When we started with 10 people, I don’t think we ever thought it would continue the next year, let alone into the 15th year,” said retired Sgt. 1st Class Arthur Coon, a former Army recruiter who started the Christmas Eve Road March.
Coon said he began the event in 2004 as a way for local residents to take a couple of hours out of their day show support for servicemen and servicewomen who were deployed during the holidays and away from their families.
“We just want to let you know we’re thinking about you,” he said.
The march will begin at 9 a.m. on Dec. 24 at the Cool Insuring Arena.
Coon will offer some brief remarks, and then those gathered will march up Glen Street, turn right on Garrison Road, another right on Bay Street and then back to the arena.
The route is about 4 miles long, and the march is usually finished by 11 a.m.
Coon said this year’s march is dedicated to Gold Star families who have lost a loved one in the service to the country. Many Gold Star families participate in the march every year, including the parents of Lt. Cmdr. Todd Clark of Albany, who was killed in 2017 in Afghanistan; Pfc. Nathan Brown of South Glens Falls, who died in Iraq in 2004; and Spc. Zack Bergmeier, who died of a heart attack in August 2005 after returning from Iraq. His father attended the first march.
The families of Staff Sgt. Derek Farley, Sgt. Kristie Roberts and Sgt. Chad Byrne also have participated.
Coon said he encourages participants to get to know them and the family member that they lost.
There will be awards presented to the largest military group marching, the largest civilian group marching and the heaviest backpack for men and women.
Care package items will be collected at the arena to be sent to service members. For more information about the care packages, contact Julie Coon at 518-378-9518.
The march is open to all. People are encouraged to bring an American flag to carry and soldiers can bring their guidon banner representing their unit designation.
For more information, call Coon at 518-542-4726, or visit the “SFC Coon’s Christmas Eve Road March” Facebook page.