On Friday, the Front Royal/Warren County Appalachian Trail Community Committee and VFW Post 1860 hosted eight members of the 2013 Warrior Hike "Walk Off the War" Program.
The Warrior Hike "Walk Off the War" Program is composed of combat veterans who have served in conflicts around the globe and now are attempting to hike all 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. In doing so, they follow in the footsteps of Earl Shaffer who in 1948 told a friend he was going to "walk off the war" to work out the sights, sounds, and losses of World War II. Four months later, Shaffer became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.
The Warrior Hike has partnered with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Operation Military Embrace, the Military Family Charitable Lifestyle Foundation, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association to support this hike by offering veterans a fully funded and a uniquely physical, psychological and spiritual way to reconnect with their nation.
The hikers arrived on foot Friday where the Appalachian Trail crosses U.S. 522 three miles south of Front Royal. There they were greeted by the Front Royal trolley, which made a special detour from its scheduled route to pick up the hikers. Four other participants are canoeing along the Shenandoah River, which parallels the trail for nearly 200 miles.
That evening, the Warrior Hikers enjoyed a community potluck at VFW Post 1860 and were greeted by Warren County Board Chair Archie A. Fox, Front Royal Vice Mayor Shae Parker, and VFW Post 1860 Commander Carl Schmitt.
Alyson Browett, A.T. Ambassador and vice chair of the Front Royal/Warren County Appalachian Trail Community committee, closed the program.
Front Royal/Warren County was designated an official Appalachian Trail Community by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in April 2012.