The annual Run to Tahoma event, put on by the county’s veterans affairs office, is canceled this year because there are no unclaimed remains of military veterans to escort locally, Kitsap County announced Monday.
Event organizer Andy Sargent said that while he highly values the annual events, which honor the fallen with a burial with full military honors on Memorial Day weekend, having no unclaimed remains with the coroner’s office is a good thing.
“In a way, it would be ideal if we never had another run,” he said. “It would mean that for all veterans, their families are taking care of them.”
The Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Program organizes the event, put on since 2011. It involves a ceremony with speeches, often from veterans and family members of the fallen, as well as musical interludes. A procession, including a motorcycle motorcade from Combat Veterans International, then brings the unclaimed remains from the county seat in Port Orchard to Tahoma National Cemetary for burial with full military honors.
2019 will be the first year since its founding that the Run to Tahoma will not take place, the county said.
In its place, veterans are encouraged to attend the biannual Stand Down event, held on Saturday, April 27 at the Sheridan Park Community Center in Bremerton. At Stand Downs, veterans are able to access services like free dental screenings, meals, clothing and groceries, as well as information on housing, employment and educational opportunities.
Those interested in volunteering for the Stand Down are asked to contact Gary Trudeau of the Kitsap Area Veterans Alliance at email@example.com.
More information on the Kitsap County Veterans Assistance Program can be found here.
Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.