WACO, Texas – Carry the Load marched it’s way through Waco Friday as way to honor veterans, first responders, and families of those who sacrifice their lives in the line of duty.
Load carrier Amber Frandsen first attended a Carry the Load event in 2019, and was moved to be a part.
“This is emotional for me. And it’s important for me to make sure that these peoples’ lives [are remembered],” Frandsen said. “They gave their lives doing something they loved.”
Due to the pandemic last year, she couldn’t – but she was determined to do it this year.
“So every single day in the month of May, I’ve done either a walk or bike ride to carry a different hero,” Frandsen said. “I did my research before May, and I came up with the names of 29 women and two men.”
The two men she wore proudly with a bracelet on her wrist are Trooper Chad Walker and Officer David Hofer.
Andy Medrano is the West Coast relay captain, who also served in the U.S. Army for over 20 years – and he says this is his way to give back.
“Reminding people what Memorial Day is all about,” Medrano said. “I think we’ve lost the true meaning of what it’s all about. And so, for us just to impact one person, we are still making a change. Even if it’s just one person.”
Medrano says this is a humbling experience to travel across the county impacting the lives of others. When he does, he also carried a meaningful load on his back.
“This is a picture of Jimmy Moriarty. He is the Green Beret that was killed in Jordan,” Medrano said. “This is an American Flag with all the names of the people that died on 9/11.”
He also carries the bibs he has been given through his Carry the Load journey.
Their walk relays in Waco consisted of stopping at the Waco Fire Department, Sunoco Gas Station, and Waco Fire Station before cycling over 30 miles to Veteran’s Memorial Park.
Carry the Load Relay Assistant Manger Michael Garlock says they will be wrapping up the Memorial May with the final March in Dallas.
“We started in Seattle, Washington, and we went through Oregon, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and then end in Texas,” Garlock said.
At each stop, there was a Carry the Load flag on display next to pictures of fallen heroes. People are able to sign the flag, and at the end of the journey, the flags will hang at the Dallas Headquarters office.
The March will end Sunday, with a more than 24-hour event symbolizing how the organization started and why they continue to honor the lives of those who sacrifice.
To donate or register for the event, you can visit Carry the Load.