Presidio of Monterey Volksmarch provides outdoor fun, information and vaccinations

Photo By Winifred Brown | Kirsteen Gomez hands a Presidio of Monterey Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation customer a bratwurst with sauerkraut during the Volksmarch at the Presidio of Monterey, Calif., Aug. 28.  



Story by Winifred Brown 

U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey  

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Aug. 31, 2021) – The Volksmarch here Aug. 28 drew military service members, families and civilian employees out of their homes and into the installation’s nature preserve for a 2.1-mile hike that included ocean views and plenty of sunshine.

“I thought it was fun,” said Spc. Brandon Munoz, a Soldier and student at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center who participated with four friends from class. “I wanted to come here just to get out of my room, get some vitamin D and hang out with the boys.”

The Volksmarch featured an easier route for families and a “challenge route” for those with an appreciation for steep inclines. Both routes were the same length, and after the hike, participants could visit community information booths and buy German-themed foods from PoM Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. Meanwhile, a DJ played music and kept the atmosphere festive.

In addition, members of the Monterey Fire Department held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. Chief Tom Joyce of the Presidio of Monterey Fire Department and MFD Assistant Chief Jim Courtney said they are proud of the partnership between the city and the installation.

“It’s amazing the support that the city of Monterey Fire Department provides to the Army and the Presidio of Monterey Fire Department,” Joyce said. “We’re proud to be partners with Monterey City Fire Department and everything that they do for our community.”

Courtney said he encourages everyone to get vaccinated, and the department is happy to help the whole community—especially those who serve our country.

Eight other organizations also staffed tables at the event, including the installation’s antiterrorism programs and The Cost of Courage Foundation, which provides scholarships and financial assistance to veterans, children and siblings of service members killed in action.

Kelly Estes, who started The Cost of Courage Foundation, headquartered in San Jose, Calif., seven years ago, said she was grateful to lend support to the event with cookies, stickers and information.

Nearby, Janice Quenga and Glen Harrison, antiterrorism officers for the U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey and DLIFLC, respectively, provided people with antiterrorism awareness information, helped sign people up for the ALERT! Mass Warning Notification System and asked people to take a Department of Defense survey on antiterrorism.

This was the third volksmarch at the installation since November 2020, and 140 people participated, said Junior Finona, business and recreation chief for PoM DFMWR.

PoM DFMWR officials plan to hold volksmarch events quarterly, Finona said, and the next one will be around Halloween.

Munoz said he didn’t know what to expect from the Volksmarch, but he was glad the event got him out of his barracks room and onto the nature preserve.

“I think I’ll do it more often, just go around, walking around in nature,” Munoz said. “My favorite part was reaching the very tip top and seeing the view of the [Monterey Peninsula]. It was a nice view—just seeing the ocean. I would encourage more people to do this.”

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