SAN ANGELO, TX - An event that is free and open to the public will let Texans express their appreciation of our nation’s military, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.
"Carry The Load" is a nonprofit that started in 2011, dedicated to providing active, meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes.
What all started as a mission to “restore” the true meaning behind Memorial Day is now bringing Americans together for one cause: carrying the load.
“Americans' way of showing their support for our fallen heroes” local veteran Chris McLean said.
Two relay teams came through San Angelo on Monday, supporting a cause that started in Seattle almost a month ago. McLean said they are going to Dallas on Sunday to show their support.
"Last year, my Memorial Day walk, I walked 34-and-a-half miles. The last two days, I walked 23 miles and Sunday when I start my walk in Dallas, I’m shooting for 50 this year,” McLean said.
But for many such as Mclean, paying respect is the least he can do.
"I did five years in the Navy as a CV. I got out in 2007. short after that, I joined the sheriff’s department and was a deputy sheriff for about two years, and once I found this group last year and found what they were about, their cause, it really meant a lot to me” McLean said.
As for who Mclean was carrying the load for…
"My cousin, Lance McLain. He was killed in Hood County in 2013 and two of my coworkers, their family members, Josh Mitchell and Bubba Kennedy” McLean said.
Although he walks, the pain still remains.
"Not a day goes by that I don't think of my cousin. He was more of a brother to me than he was a cousin” McLean said.
Folks aren’t just walking -- they are also biking as well. And while the distance may be a bit different, the message and purpose still stays the same.
"People that I meet through the walks and everything, some have been the most phenomenal people I met in my life so far," volunteer Justin Sears said.
And giving up is not an option.
“They can’t give up, and this is nothing compared to what they’ve done. So, I’m trying [not] to give up” Sears said.
Carry the Load encourages Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day.
© 2018 KIDY-TV