El Paso, Texas (KTSM)- A non-profit featuring volunteers walking across states with a flag in hand is making it’s way through El Paso. The mission is called carry the load. It started in 2011 as a way to restore the true meaning of memorial day but it has grown to honor fallen heroes everyday with relays.
“What we do is raise awareness and talk with families of military members, families of first responders. They share their stories with us and we remember memorial day the way it should be,” said Ethan Date, a paramedic firefighter who is part of a group of volunteers sharing the walk between Seattle and Dallas.
Date joined the group for two members of his firefighting crew including his best friend.
“Todd Mahoney who was my ambulance partner for 8 years in Madison,” said Walker. “I try to remember all the good moments we had as friends and share those stories. We liked to rock climb together, back pack together. Play with his kids. Play with my kids.”
Date said Mahoney died doing an Iron Man race on his day off and it was Date who ran to his side before even realizing who he was there to assist.
“I actually responded to the call. I was the first responder,” he said.
But when others join him on his walks during the relays, he reflects on how fallen heroes like Mahoney have made a positive impact.
“I like to listen to their stories. Let them tell their stories. If they want to know mine, I will gladly share it but I like to listen to their stories when we’re walking,” said Date.
It’s about honoring our fallen heroes from military members to first responders.
“Kind of my way of remembering them and their sacrifices and remembering everyone’s sacrifices in the nation and veterans,” said Date.
The next stop on this mission is Pecos, Texas. For more on how you can support the mission click here.