The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
The Times 

Ruck for the Fallen visits Waitsburg

First Sergeant Mitch Kriebel finished his 150-mile journey on Sunday


January 28, 2021

Beka Compton

Mrs. Payne's Second Grade class cheered First Sergeant Mitch Kriebel along during his long ruck across eastern Washington.

WAITSBURG-United States Army First Sergeant Mitch Kriebel walked 150 miles last week, with a weighted rucksack on his back.

Kriebel is the founder of Ruck for the Fallen, a non-profit organization that raises money to support families of fallen first responders and military personnel. The organization also helps veterans face mental, physical, and emotional health challenges by inviting them to participate in 'ruck challenges and races' sponsored by military units and donations.

For the journey, Kriebel carried different flags: An American flag, a Thin Blue Line Flag in recognition of fallen law enforcement, a Thin Green Line Flag to honor fallen military, and a Thin Red Line to honor firefighters.

On January 18, Kriebel set out from Lewiston, Idaho, ending this ruck six days later in Benton City, WASH. He rested alongside the road in towns including Dodge Junction, Dayton, Prescott, and the Tri-Cities at night.

Ruck for the Fallen passed through Dayton and Waitsburg on day three of the walk, trekking through January snow. In Dayton, Kriebel was met by the Columbia County Undersheriff Robbie Patterson, Mrs. Payne's second-grade class, and supportive residents following his progress from Lewiston.

Kriebel walked into Waitsburg around 1 p.m. The community began showing their support as he made his way through Huntsville, where local youth Sarah Daves, William Daves, Gary Meyer, and Bradley Sandau accompanied Kriebel through town. Sandau, who has plans for joining the military, went on to walk with Kriebel to the endpoint in Benton City- more than 70 miles. Sandau graduated from Waitsburg High School in 2020.

Columbia-Walla Walla County Fire District 2 announced Kriebel's arrival with a lights-on escort, and the city's public works employees spent the morning lining the street with American flags. Main street was full of families who were cheering him on.

Pastor Matthew Wyatt pulled Kriebel aside for a moment of prayer, just in time to introduce him to World War II veteran Jack McCaw.

The fire department offered Kriebel a warm spot in the fire station for a quick break, where interim Fire Chief Colter Mohney and Jamie McMillen provided some medical care. Kriebel suffered from injuries during his walk, including muscle fatigue, foot pain, and sores from his boots. Kriebel did have a team of trainers and massage therapists with him throughout the journey.

After a short break, Kriebel was joined by the Daves kids and Gary Meyer, who all rucked roughly four miles towards Prescott, and Bradley Sandau continued on.

If you would like to donate to or get involved with Ruck for the Fallen, visit their website at


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