Veterans hike 24.6 miles from Beloit to Edgerton to raise awareness for homeless veterans

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Edgerton, Wisc. — As veterans arrived into Edgerton after a 24.6-mile hike, they were welcomed by live music and flag wavers cheering for both their service and the bigger cause that they are raising awareness toward. 

Fred Falk is a veteran who helped organize Saturday’s event to raise awareness and funds to help stop veteran homelessness in Wisconsin.

“It was absolutely inspirational to me. I’m 73 years old, and to be with some much younger troopers was just great,” said Falk. 

Edgerton Community Outreach is behind the 210 West Fulton Project. The project aims to expand the building, which was built in 1851, to include housing options for veterans and their families. In addition, the project aims to add a community room for Veterans groups, create space for senior programming and be available to benefit the community at large.

Ray Oswald is the treasurer with Edgerton Community Outreach. Prior to Saturday’s event, he said the ‘Hike for Hope’ raised $75 thousand toward the $2.1 million project.

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“There’s a significant need for veteran housing,” said Falk. “There’s a huge shortage statewide for housing for homeless people.”

According to the Edgerton Outreach website, homeless service providers complete an annual street count to identify homeless persons in our communities. In January of last year, the street count identified 2420 homeless people that were part of a household with at least one child.  Of these people, 168 were veterans.

Organizers like Oswald said the event was successful in both raising money and bringing the community together.

“It was incredible,” said Oswald. “It was a very emotional and special day in our small town.”

A link to donate to the 210 West Fulton Project can be found here.

“Unfortunately, sometimes our vets fall through the cracks. And quite frankly, they deserve better, said Oswald. “Our town is gonna work to make it better for our vets and our community.”