NW Military in the Outdoors Expo at Point Ruston

By Melissa Renahan on August 15, 2014

Saturday marks a chance to honor those who serve during downtown Tacoma's Celebrating Military Service parade ... but before the 6 p.m. festivities kick off, everyone is welcome to attend the 2014 NW Military in the Outdoors Expo along the Waterwalk at Point Ruston.

The planners behind the expo believe that the Northwest offers a wide array of employment and recreational activities outdoors, which can often be a great fit for active-duty servicemembers, veterans and their families.

"We are a group of folks who see the outdoors as a key part of the Northwest's identity," said Eric Lint, a member of the Military in the Outdoors team. "Our goal is to build awareness around the many unique opportunities for area veterans to integrate, stay active and continue their passions - or develop new ones."

The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, is free and open to anyone who wants to attend, whether they are civilians or military.

The expo will include opportunities to climb a rockwall or try out the skydiving simulator, learn more about college and certificate programs that focus on outdoor recreation and conservation and meet employers and nonprofits focused on working outside. Veterans and active-duty servicemembers can also learn more about the health benefits that the outdoors can offer after the military.

"The idea for this came to the organizers between different meetings aimed at bringing together some of the varied groups that support servicemembers, veterans and their families," he stated. "Our idea is to put into practice some of the objectives discussed in those settings - bringing together diverse partners working toward a shared goal."

Attendees can also learn about and build new skills with the Adventure Film School, which takes veterans on expeditions while teaching filmmaking as therapy, and several other vendors, to include Navy Fleet and Family Readiness, RallyPoint/6 and Team River Runner, which offers kayaking as therapy for wounded warriors.

"We're looking to do things a little differently. This isn't a job fair or transition seminar. It's a hands-on learning experience that we hope for many will open the door to the outdoors," Lint explained.

The NW Military in the Outdoors Expo is being put on by a coalition of veteran-supporting government entities and nonprofits, like the Sierra Club Military Outdoors, U.S. Forest Service, Washington National Guard, the City of Tacoma, and the Washington Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Conservation Corps/Vet Corps.

The event will specifically occur behind the new Copperline Apartments, 5005 Ruston Way. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NWMilitaryOutdoors.