The annual 5K hike was held May 28.
Sarasota's military community paid tribute to those fallen with a hike through downtown Sarasota on May 28.
SRQ VET'S 7th annual Memorial Day 5k hike brought hundreds of veterans and civilians to J.D. Hamel Park for an early morning hike through Main Street and other downtown Sarasota avenues in honor of fallen soldiers. The event benefits SRQ VET's programs providing resources for local veterans.
Co-founder Bill Sterbinsky welcomed the assembled crowd and reiterated the meaning of why he, mayor Erik Arroyo and countless others would be marching.
"This is what we believe and what we love," Sterbinsky said. "Today we make sure we show (our fallen veterans) that we earn their sacrifice. They can't be here with their brothers and sisters, their mothers and fathers and friends. They gave this day that we can continue to be Americans."
Sean Burns and Elizabeth Strople, both in the Army National Guard, have been eyeing the march for some time. Burns says he works with the military funeral honors program in Florida most days the march has been held and hasn't been able to attend.
This year was different — he decided to take off work with Strople to finally join in the walk. The pair decided to up the ante by carrying heavy backpacks to make it a tougher go.
"We've done way longer things than 5ks in the army just with basic training," Burns said. "We couldn't do a 5k with nothing on our backs."
"Regular army life trained us for this," Strople said. "We're going to sweat a little bit though."
The hundreds of volunteers walked in a close line through downtown Sarasota and Main Street before returning to J.D. Hamel park for an afternoon of food, drinks and games for everyone to enjoy
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