Incline man carries weights around Tahoe for veterans |

Incline man carries weights around Tahoe for veterans

Bennett Welco, Parker Fontecchio and Taylor Redfern on their second day of walking in Camp Richardson.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Instead of sitting at home doing nothing during the pandemic, one Incline Village man decided to get out and be active for a good cause.

Parker Fontecchio, an Incline High School graduate, was an avid Spartan competitor so when the races got canceled, he was disappointed. He continued to work and a friend suggested that he would put on his own event.

So, he partnered with FitOps Foundation and started the 72 project.

FitOps equips veterans who are passionate about fitness, health, and wellness to find success after the military.

Fontecchio did the event to raise money for veterans.

Fontecchio pledged to walk 72 miles around the lake in 72 hours while holding 22 pounds in each hand. The weight signified the average 22 veterans who die by suicide each day. All the money raised would go to veterans struggling to adjust back into civilian life.

“I have a lot of family in the military and I’m debating going into the military after college,” Fontecchio said. “We just wanted to try to give back to the veterans because they gave so much for us.”

Fontecchio started walking at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18. At mile 14, while going downhill, he felt a pop in his knee. However, he put a knee brace on and finished out the day despite the pain. But to avoid putting more stress on his knee, he cut the weight down to 22 total pounds instead of 22 pounds in each hand.

Day 2 started at 7 a.m. near Homewood with incredible winds.

“Probably some of the biggest waves I’ve seen on Tahoe but it was kind of cool because we got to see surfers surfing,” Fontecchio said.

Incline Village’s Parker Fontecchio. Laney Griffo / Tahoe Daily Tribune

He walked up D.L. Bliss to the top of Emerald but out of an abundance of caution for both his knee and his safety because of the lack of shoulder on parts of the road, he hopped in the car with his dad who trailed him the whole journey and got out at Camp Richardson.

With a slight limp, he continued his journey to Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa where he slept for the night.

On Wednesday, he walked 22 miles from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Finally, on Thursday he finished up the final 3.5 miles.

He had support from fellow Incline graduates. Along with his dad trailing in the car, his friend Taylor Redfern walked most of it with him and his friend Bennett Welco did the whole thing.

In the end they walked 61 miles.

“My forearms were exhausted, my hands did pretty good but there were lots of blisters on my feet,” Fontecchio said. “It was a fun but brutal event.”

The pain wasn’t for nothing, he ended up raising nearly $7,000.

“It’s kind of just a relieving feeling, I’m honestly so grateful that so many people have donated and we’ve been able to raise so much for veterans,” Fontecchio said.

To donate, visit

Laney Griffo is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.

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