REDDING, Calif.—For the second consecutive year, Simpson University participated in Carry the Load’s National Relay as a launching place for a 4.8-mile walk to honor military, veterans, first responders and their families.
About 15 community members joined the walk, which started at 8 a.m. April 29 on campus and followed Churn Creek Road to the south end of Hilltop Drive, where the next relay leg was scheduled. Participants carried flags, and passersby honked in support.
Army Chaplain 1st Lt. Chris Peterson, who serves as assistant director of Simpson’s Veterans Success Center, spoke prior to the walk about the high suicide rates among service members that he has encountered as a chaplain.
Carry the Load is a nonprofit founded in 2011 by two veteran Navy SEALS that seeks to provide active, meaningful ways to honor and celebrate sacrifices made by military, veterans, first responders, and their families.
The walk began in Texas, expanded to include an East Coast Relay in 2012, then added a West Coast route from Seattle to Dallas in 2016. This year, Carry the Load added a Midwest route from Minneapolis to Dallas. In 2018, the relay walked through 19 states, with 50 rallies.
At the conclusion of the Redding relay leg, participants had a chance to do 22 pushups in remembrance of the average number of veterans and active service members who die by suicide every day, according to a 2012 Veterans Administration report. Participants received a ring from 22KILL, a nonprofit dedicated to researching, understanding, and promoting awareness of the issues associated with suicide.
Simpson University’s Veterans Success Center, ranked No. 11 in top Christian universities for veterans, opened in 2016. Serving 50 student veterans this year, the center is designed as a central place for veterans and their dependents to access educational and career-planning resources. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology equipment, the center houses a VA work-study site, the Student Veteran Organization, Simpson’s chapter of the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society, academic resources, conference and study services, as well as a community space.
Simpson University is home to a Veterans Memorial Garden, a gift from the Class of 2018. The garden, which was dedicated in September, is open to the public.
Learn more about Simpson University’s Veterans Success Center at simpsonu.edu/veterans.
Photos by Anna Pownell / Video courtesy Mark Endraske
Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding almost 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated almost 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 12-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership.
Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements, and it is offering new scholarships.