DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A nationwide relay is coming through the Miami Valley Wednesday morning to recognize, remember and honor the sacrifices made by the military, veterans, first responders and their families.
The Midwest route of Carry the Load will be making a stop at the Dayton National Cemetery around 9:45 a.m. The group is coming from Columbus and they began the journey in Minnesota on May 6.
The relay is taking place across 48 states with five different routes covering the different regions of the United States. Each route will end in Dallas on Memorial Day weekend.
In 2022, members of the Dayton Police Department took part in the Midwest leg that went through the Dayton National Cemetery. They did it in honor of Detective Jorge Del Rio who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2019. Each person participating has their own reason for taking part.
“My dad was, he died in the line of duty at the fire department in 2017,” said Olivia Terry, a relay walker going through Dayton. Her dad was also in the military.
This is Terry’s 3rd time taking part in Carry the Load. She said that by doing this event every year, it makes sure the fallen are not forgotten.
“There’s two deaths. The first death is the physical one and then the second one is where their name, like the last time their name is said,” said Terry. “We want to make sure no one dies that second death. We want to make sure their name is always remembered, always spoken.”
Terry along and about 11 others are doing the Midwest route, which is approximately 3,900 miles long and the group will walk between five to 10 miles a day.
“You know there are people who wake up every day with the pain of losing a loved one so what’s a little walking?” said Terry.
They are also using a bus to help them get around and live on during the journey. At each stop, they will set up a table or tent to meet with people. Those who stop by can sign the flag the group is carrying with them to Dallas. People can also pin a bib to the relay walkers’ backpacks.
Over the course of Carry the Load, organizers are accepting donations. The goal is to raise $2.25 million with 92.6% of the money going towards awareness, continuum of care and education programs.