On July 26, 2013, the Sierra Club hosted a hike with veterans from "The Perimeter" program of "The Philadelphia Veterans Multiservice and Education Center." Approximately twenty veterans joined in the hike through the Wissahickon Valley from Rittenhousetown to the Valley Green Inn, where we shared lunch.
William Kramer, a local Sierra Club organizer, described the event. "Today, we reached out to one of the veterans service centers...we had a nice hike, we had a nice meal, and just got to know each other."
This local effort is part of broader, national, program in the Sierra Club to honor our veterans, and to provide opportunities for them to get out into nature and realize its healing powers.
Gary Lytle, the local Sierra Club lead for veteran outreach who is himself a veteran, says, "Anytime you have a chance to give honor to veterans, you should give honor to [them]."
During the lunch, the participants had a broad ranging discussion about how the Sierra Club can work together with veterans on issues that are important to both groups, including the impact of climate change on health, the potential for sustainable jobs, and protecting natural lands for future generations. Kramer states, "We're hoping to work more with veterans...We know there's alot of potential to create good jobs in Philadelphia in solar and wind energy or in retrofitting and insulation."
Lytle also added, "As Americans, we all have an obligation to take care of our country, and the lands that surround us."
Additional hikes with veterans groups are being planned for later in the fall. Contact William Kramer for more information < william.kramer (at) sierraclub.org >.