Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Luis Gaxiola joined the 82nd Airborne right out of high school, and this year is celebrating 25 years of service to the Army.
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However, for Veteran’s Day weekend, his family and friends are asking for help to support the Gaxiola family.
Gaxiola is fighting an extremely rare and fatal form of cancer known as histiocytic sarcoma, for which he is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
To support the family and take pressure off of Gaxiola, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Station, who works light duty at the station in between rounds of chemotherapy, members of the community will be leading a march Saturday around the Santa Clarita Valley, said LASD Military Activation Committee member Kym Duxbury.
The Tactical (RUCK) Road March, or simulated military style march, will begin at 10 a.m. near the Sheriff’s Station, with a pre-walk “briefing” at 9 a.m.
Duxbury, who’s been organizing and promoting the event, said it started as an idea by her husband, who’s also a deputy and Army veteran who wanted to show his support for a friend.
“He said, ‘I’m going to put all my gear on, and I’m going to walk from one end of town to the other for Luis,’” she said.
“I’m trying to make it a spectacle, and trying to promote it,” she added. “The point is so that people will turn their head and say, ‘What’s that about?’ and want to donate.”
What started as a small group including her husband and a few of his Army buddies has grown to more than 40, and Kym Duxbury is hoping to draw as many as possible.
The full march, which is also being supported by Jersey Mike’s, will start at the parking lot of the city of Santa Clarita’s Valencia Library, next to the Sheriff’s Station, and continue on a 13.5-mile route that will wind through the city, ending at the Bouquet Canyon Jersey Mike’s.
The group is expected to arrive there around 3:30 p.m., Duxbury said. The walk will not prompt any closures of traffic stoppages, as the marchers will be on sidewalks and obeying all posted signage and traffic laws, officials said.
The sandwich shop will be donating a portion of its sales that day to support the family, with a mention of the Gaxiola family.
Those who elect to participate are encouraged to walk at their own pace and distance, Duxbury said, and water stops will be provided.
There’s no requirement to complete the 13.5 miles or to wear military garb, but she said it’s encouraged.
Gaxiola is currently a member of the Army Reserves, and has done several peace-keeping missions in Thailand, as well as a deployment to Bosnia in 1997. He was deployed twice to Iraq, the last time in 2009.
He is currently a civil affairs instructor out of Moffett Field.
“My husband’s goal is, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice where if we could get him a big enough pot of money where he doesn’t have to go back in?’” she said, describing the fatigue of chemotherapy that Gaxiola endures after daylong sessions, and lengthy drive from his home to Loma Linda.
Donation may be made at the event, by mail or drop off at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station (care of Deputy Gaxiola) or by eating that day at the Bouquet Canyon Jersey Mike’s.
“It’s Veteran’s Day Weekend so its a great opportunity to recognize and support all those veterans who serve our country, and community,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
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Source: Santa Clarita News