John Percey and those who accompanied him for the annual 31-mile walk braved the summer swelter to complete the mission

It was a blistering day, but John Percey and those who accompanied him for the annual 31-mile walk braved the summer swelter to complete the mission — raising money for veterans and their families and research into traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Percey, a retired Air Force veteran, is the local organizer of the 31 Miles for 31 Heroes “memorial ruck” (as in military rucksack), which honors the sacrifices of the 30 active duty military service members and one military working dog killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011, when their helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. The main walk, which has become an annual event, began in Washington, D.C. in 2012.