3rd Annual Justin Fitch Memorial Ruck

Justin Fitch holding a veterans patchSaturday, October 6th we honored American Hero Justin Fitch at this year’s Third Annual Justin Fitch Memorial Ruck, at the Chutes and Ladders Pavilion in Houghton’s Kestner Park. The official ceremony began at approximately 2:30pm. Immediately following the event, there was a cookout. Faculty, staff, students and community members attended the event. Additionally, Lt. Col. Christian A. Thompson, Army ROTC 1st Battalion, 107th Engineers, assisted in a dedication ceremony for a memorial that has been placed on the ROTC front lawn in honor of Fitch.

I have had the privilege of overseeing this event the last three years and I continue to be amazed at the way our community has come together to support this incredible cause. —Grant M Beatus

The Carry the Fallen Ruck March is a four-mile hike where participants can choose to carry a weighted pack to symbolize the struggles that veterans go through every day. Justin Fitch ’05, was a Michigan Tech grad who served as a major in the United States Army. Fitch led a ruck march to bring awareness to the fact that 22 veterans a day take their own lives.

Tragically, Justin was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in May 2012. After being medically retired from the Army in 2015, he was determined to continue to fight for his brothers in arms. Despite chemotherapy treatments and numerous medical appointments, he fought and marched for his brothers until the day he passed away on October 4, 2015

In an effort to continue what Fitch called his “final mission,” we have teamed up with Active Heroes, a 501(c) (3) charity whose mission is to support all U.S. military service members, veterans and their families through physical, educational and emotional programs in an effort to eliminate suicide.