Every year, cities across the United States observe National Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day. The event is held for those that have lost their children while serving in the military. Albany is joining in on the event, holding what the SUNY Empire State College Office of Veteran and Military Education is calling the One Million Steps Relay.

The relay takes place in Lafayette Park in hopes of raising a total of $1 million to benefit students that are serving in the military. This funding can be used for scholarships and financial aid for these students. In addition, the organization will be lighting one candle for all 62 of New York’s counties.

“Gold Star families’ loved ones died in military service defending the safety, freedom and liberty enjoyed by each and every one of us,” said SUNY Empire president Jim Malatras. “Some of our active duty students have completed their degrees while serving in combat zones, a remarkable demonstration of persistence and determination. I am proud to join in the state’s observance of Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day and kick off this important campaign to enhance the support we provide to our military students and their families as they advance their goals with a college degree.”

One person that’s appreciated the work that SUNY Empire has done is retired Army member Jim McDonough. “We are grateful to SUNY Empire State College for their continued support of these Gold Star Families who have sacrificed so much,” he said. “We are honored to have them as our partners in this Gold Star Families Luminary event recognizing the fortitude and strength of Gold Star Families whom we owe more than we could ever repay.”