Carry the Load trek honors those lost in line of duty
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Carry The Load, a national organization that honors those who died in the line of duty, hiked more than 20 miles through South Mississippi Wednesday. About 30 participants started at the Biloxi National Cemetery and trekked west.
“We have a team that’s been traveling for 24 days from West Point, New York on a journey to Dallas, Texas. It’s a way to get out and be active in honoring our nation’s military veterans, first responders and their families,” said event coordinator Madison Woodson.
The group first stopped at the Armed Forces Retirement Home and was greeted by veterans.
“It’s outstanding. It’s something we really needed. I’m so glad they do it. Sometimes I wish I could join them, but my legs wouldn’t hold up,” said AFRH resident and U.S. Navy veteran William Robert Johnson.
The participants are a mix of civilians and veterans who come from all over the country to take part in this 20,000-mile event across the United States.
“One of the people I carry is my grandpa. He was a World War II vet, and I got to spend the last six months of his life taking care of him. And so just to see their support and the joy it brings them and us coming here,” said participant Christi-an Hansley.
“I’ve always tried to do something to honor our heroes that fallen. It’s near and dear to my heart. I have several friends that passed away. It’s nice to be able to remind people it’s not just the start of summer and that it came at a price,” said U.S. Marine veteran Bryan Henley. He’s on the journey with his 10-year-old daughter Presley.
“We always do either a run, a BBQ or something. But this year we wanted to do -- well, we did this. It’s tough but it’s been fun, too,” she said.
Her father carries the names of his fallen brothers who he will never forget.
“The first name I have on my back, he was my captain at one point,” Henley said. “His name is Patrick. He died in 2008 in Iraq from a roadside bomb. The other one is Zimmy, Rederferd and Swain. They were Marines with me out of Camp Lejeune. In 2005, two weeks before we were gonna head home, they got hit by a barrage of roadside bombs and they weren’t able to survive the blast. Those are who I carry for this.”
The group also stopped by Gulfport Fire Department before ending at Pass Christian Yacht Club.
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