WACO, Texas – Zechariah Carledge was born with the gift of running, and with his gift he has raised awareness for fallen first responders.
Zechariah is the co-founder of Running 4 Heroes, and was inspired by the hard work front line responders do to protect and serve the community.
“I signed up for one of the 5K runs in my area. I was only nine years old, and I was inspired by the reason why they were doing the 5K, and all these amazing first responders that were there in their full gear running,” Zechariah says.
Running 4 Heroes started in 2019, and he has already ran over 930 miles.
“And I’ve given over $145,000 to almost 20 recipients of the End of First Responders grant at the end of every single month,” says Carledge.
DPS Trooper Juan Tovar will be the June recipient. Tovar was shot in the line of duty during a mass shooting in Bryan last April.
“Very excited to meet with corporal Juan Tovar. He’s an amazing person. I really think his story is incredible,” says Carledge.
The money raised goes towards grants to the families who have been injured on the line of duty. During each run, Zechariah runs with a flag – which he then passes on to the family – thanking them for their service.
“We just hope that along with that and a handwritten note that they can heal and find comfort knowing that there’s people supporting them across the nation,” says Carledge.
Zechariah is traveling to Madisonville on Saturday morning, and is running one mile for each fallen first responder lost from the Texas Highway Patrol.
“When I get to meet families of the fallen, that’s one of the most charitable moments I have with this mission – giving them that hug,” says Carledge.
He continues to show support to the Tovar family as he completes his recovery.