PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – Rocky Bleier has quite an impressive resume, four-time Super Bowl champion, U.S. Army veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, and now he can add honorary chairman to a worth cause, “The Crucible.”
“The Crucible” is an extreme hike through the Laurel Mountains this coming May and is raising money to support Checkpoint.
Checkpoint, a Pittsburgh-area non-profit, is designed to help Pittsburgh’s veterans and military families by improving the connections between veterans and local service organizations and communities.
Bleier explained to Dan Zangrilli on the KDKA Afternoon News that about 220,000 veterans coming into our area that will need Checkpoint’s help.
“One of the biggest things with veterans is, ‘Where do I go? What do I do? How do I get a job? What if I need resources?’ And, so, Checkpoint was created as an online platform to make it easy for all veterans,” Bleier said, “They don’t care what age, service, rank, so that they can more easily access agencies around the area and even with the VA and resources to help them assimilate back into this region.”
Bleier, along with Dr. Joseph Maroon, renowned UPMC neurosurgeon, will be co chairing “The Crucible.” The three-day, 70-mile extreme journey will be taking place May 15 to 17. The 70-mile hiking trail stretches along the Laurel Mountains near Johnstown and will feature some great scenic views.
“It’s a a great opportunity for those who sign up to really come together and bond with one another on, I think, an event that will forever last, a lifetime of memories,” Bleier said.
There are 50 slots available to sign up for the trip, only 20 are taken right now. Maroon, an Iron Man triathlete, and Bleier are seeking both sponsors and participants for the event. If you are interested you can visit thecruciblehike.org to sign up or donate.
The Crucible hikers will have access to overnight shelter areas with food, medical attention and campfires. Bleier says he hopes participants will appreciate the veterans who trekked mountains with backpacks and gear during their tours overseas by taking a metaphorical walk in their shoes.
“Now you got a chance to some degree to experience that, but more importantly to be able to talk to a veteran who has been there and who has gone through that experience and so you are sharing the same commonality. I think that is a unique aspect of this hike,” Bleier said.
You can listen to the whole interview here:
Also tune into the KDKA Afternoon News weekdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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