Students of the Summa Safety course in Eindhoven will walk 200 kilometers from Nieuwdorp in Zeeland to Eindhoven in four days this week. With the march ‘Boots on the Ground’ they want to draw attention to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among former soldiers. They also collect money for the Veteran Activity Support Foundation.

    Summa Security in Eindhoven is an intermediate vocational education for young people who want to work for the Ministry of Defence, the police or in security. It is therefore not surprising that the students feel involved with the veterans.

    23 students left Riel at seven o’clock on Thursday morning for the third stage to the Indies monument in the Zuiderpark in Den Bosch. “I do get blisters, but that’s because I didn’t tie my shoelaces properly,” says Time, pulling on dry socks. He’s not the only one.

    “We were very impressed by their stories.”

    Around noon they are sitting in the wet grass near Biezenmortel. “The mood in the group is good, although we have had a lot of rain and snow on the road in recent days,” says Sterre van den Boogaard (20) from Helmond. Together with Ruben Lindenhovius (19) from Eindhoven, she came up with the idea for the sponsored run.

    Last year they visited the Invictus Games in The Hague with school, a kind of Olympic Games for traumatized or disabled veteran athletes. “We were very impressed by their stories,” says Sterre.

    “We hope to raise at least 2000 euros.”

    “One of the veterans said he couldn’t be with his family and his trauma prevented him from living with others. I was very sorry to hear that and that is why we wanted to do something for this group. We hope to collect at least 2000 euros with the 200 kilometers.”

    The students not only walked, but also rowed across the Oosterschelde and braved an obstacle course in a snow storm at the commandos in Roosendaal. “That was very tough for many students, but it also resulted in great moments.”

    Sterre is the only girl among all the boys. “I think it’s a pity that there aren’t more girls on the course, because if you mentally turn a button it’s fine. I like such a man’s world myself,” she says with a laugh. The march ends on Friday afternoon at the Summa Security school building in Eindhoven.

    Sterre van den Boogaard (20) and Ruben Lindenhovius (19) are ahead of the 21 other runners (photo: Jan Peels)
    Sterre van den Boogaard (20) and Ruben Lindenhovius (19) are ahead of the 21 other runners (photo: Jan Peels)