The John Pettit Memorial Walk

"Making Sure No One Fights Alone"

Join us on the first annual "RUCK 22 WALK"  to help bring awareness to veteran's suffering with PTSD and veteran suicide. On Saturday May 28th, 2022, we will walk to honor those who suffer silently, those we have lost and those we hope to help.

Participants have three distances to choose from, 2.2 miles, 10k (6.2 miles), and 22 miles. The walk will begin promptly at 7:30 at the Veteran's War Memorial in Central Park in Elmwood, IL. The routes will lead you through Elmwood; past the Archie Miles Memorial in Elmwood Township Cemetery, Sergeant First Class John Pettit's resting place, past Elmwood High School and through various streets in town.

To sign up or find other ways to become involved please visit our Participate page for more information. 

Image by Chad Madden
Image by israel palacio
Image by Selena Morar
Army Medals
Image by Tim Mossholder
US Army Soldier in Universal Camouflage Uniform
Veteran Memorial Service

“Ruck 22 Walk” was formed to help raise awareness of Veteran PTSD and Suicide. Through government studies of Veterans, between 11 and 20% of servicemembers returning from combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom,  and the Gulf War experience some form of PTSD. It is estimated that as many as 30% of Vietnam Veterans suffer from PTSD. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that is developed after someone has experienced or witnessed a life threatening, traumatic event. This not only affects the veteran but their families and friends. 

Suicide among Veterans has steadily increased from 2001 to 2019. On average, 17 Veterans a day commit suicide. In 2019 there was a decrease in veteran suicides, 7%, the largest since 2001. While this is a step in the right direction, losing one service member to suicide is one too many. 

Our goal is to not only shed light on this silent battle that many veterans fight, but to help fellow service members through their struggles of daily life. Half of the proceeds will be donated to Freedom Paws Service Dog. This local organization provides veterans and first responders, suffering from PTSD, with trained service dogs. 

The walk was named in honor of a local service member who fought his battles on and off the field. As a member of the Army Special Forces, John completed three tours in Afghanistan. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the John Pettit Memorial Scholarship. Scroll down to learn more about our two beneficiaries. 

John Pettit III

John lived most of childhood and teen years in Elmwood; growing up in the small town with his three sisters and best friend, Matt. Wherever Matt was, so was John. 

In high school, you could always find John walking down the hall; not only because he towered over everyone else, but you could hear his laugh over the buzz of the halls. He was well liked by everyone; he had a way of making you feel like you had been friends your whole life, even if you had just met. On Friday nights, John could be found on the football field or basketball court. 

After graduating in 1997, John followed in the footsteps of his father and two of his sisters by enlisting in the military. He served as Sergeant First Class in the Army Special Forces; he completed three tours in Afghanistan. John was awarded multiple medals and awards, including the Audie Murphy award. 

Sadly, John left us on Nov. 23, 2015 after struggling with PTSD. He is remembered by friends and family as a gentle giant, standing at 6'6"  tall. His kindness, fun loving spirit and generous heart are how everyone describes him. Anyone who knew John, knew how much he cared about them. 

US Army Soldier in Universal Camouflage Uniform
Freedom Paws Service Dogs
Freedom Paws Service Dogs is based in Chillicothe, Illinois. They provide trained service dogs to veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD.


Without the generous contributions from local businesses, organizations, and volunteers, RUCK 22 would not be possible. We thank you for your continued kindness and loving support.

Gold Level Sponsors

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Silver Level Sponsors


Bronze Level Sponsors

Elmwood Tap

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Ted Richardson

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Scot Jehle

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Private Donations

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The Whitney Family
in honor of 

L. Richard Whitney & Ward E. Summers
both serving in World War II

Bob Shoop
in honor of
Kyle B. Shoop USMC
Nick Conklin USAF

The Pettit Family
in honor of 
John Pettit II & John Pettit III

Steve Neal
in honor of
Robert E. Murphy

Luke Stafford 
in memory of 
John Pettit

in honor of 
John Pettit

Kyle Shoop Family
in honor of
John Pettit

Kerry Head & Family
in honor of 
John Pettit

The Bowald Family

Aaron Sarff, Rachel Courson & family

The Reyling Family

Chris Dunn & family

Bob Seneff

Rita Kress

Hayne Ellis

Les Emken

Meagan McDonough

Lyle Galbreath

Rosa Lewis

Mary Ann Hanlin &  Larry Benson

The Schmieg Family

Donnie Meehan