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Carry The Load relay: Recognizing veterans and their sacrifice

Published: May. 8, 2022 at 7:40 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - With Memorial Day just a few weeks away, one national non-profit is looking to remember those who died serving their country.

Carry The Load is honoring the holiday with a cross-country journey.

Air Force veteran Jeremiah Kincaid committed to traveling 3,800 miles across the Midwest to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“When you hear thank you for your service on Memorial Day, it kind of sits differently, you know, “ Kincaid said. “Memorial Day is not for me. You know, that’s what Veterans Day is for. So bringing back the true meaning of Memorial Day, it’s about those that, you know, that didn’t get to come home.”

Carry The Load is a Texas-based non-profit aiming to shed light on those who put their lives on the line.

“Between military and first responders, you know, they’re all around to serve, you know, serve the community in one way or another,” Kincaid said.

The organization is holding five different relay routes across the nation. The Midwest leg started in Minneapolis and passed through Eau Claire Sunday.

“We have West Coast, Mountain States, Midwest, East Coast, and New England,” Kincaid said. “We actually cover all 48 continental states and we’re covering 20,000 miles overall.”

During their trek, volunteers rotate between walking, biking, and traveling by bus.

Although not a vet herself, Madison Woodson’s father served for over 30 years. She eventually joined Carry The Load as the special events coordinator.

“I first got involved in 2016 when I was just a relay team member that was walking during the month of May,” Woodson said. “The organization had such an impact on me that I started working for them.”

Even though some heroes didn’t make it home, Woodson says events like the relays make sure they aren’t forgotten.

“A lot of times we’ll find out that someone passed in the line of duty or someone died, killed in action overseas, and they make the headlines for a week and then we forget about them we go on about our days.,” Woodson. “But the families and the loved ones who lost someone, they live with that 365 days a year. So it’s important for us to recognize that there’s a sacrifice being made and that there are millions of families being affected every day by it.”

Carry The Load is just one way to honor those who swore to protect and serve and Kincaid says anyone can do their part in keeping the memories of the fallen alive.

“Whether it’s being able to walk or fundraising, spreading the word, just talking about it,” Kincaid said. “Remembering, you know, whether it’s a veteran or first responder, you know, saying their names, “Kincaid said.

Kincaid says he hopes to one day travel all five relay routes.

The routes will travel the rest of May with all of them ending in Dallas, Texas where Carry The Load will host its annual 2-day Memorial Day weekend event.

To learn more, click here.

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