Carry The Load memorial relay runs through Leavenworth to honor military, first responders

Mark Rountree
The Leavenworth Times
Shown are participants in the recent Carry The Load event at Leavenworth National Cemetery.

Members of the nonprofit organization Carry The Load were in Leavenworth this week as part of a 15,500-mile national relay to honor and remember fallen military and first responders. In this Q&A, Sergio Benitez, media coordinator for Carry The Load, talks about the organization.

What is Carry The Load's mission?

Our mission is to provide an active way to honor and remember our nation’s heroes by connecting Americans to the sacrifices made by our military, veterans, first responders and their families. 

Is this an annual event prior to Memorial Day?

Our Memorial May event is a 32-day event, beginning April 29 and ending May 31, on Memorial Day. Our relay team travels across the country during May to provide an active way to connect Americans to the sacrifices of our military, veterans, first responders and their families. This year we celebrate a decade of honoring and remembering our nation’s heroes. In these past 10 years, Carry The Load has turned into a worldwide movement. 

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How many people participate in this event?

Each year our number of participants continues to grow and grow. We typically have thousands of people join us to honor and remember our nation’s heroes and this year is no different. This year people can participate in our 32-day event either in-person or virtually. In an effort to comply with local COVID-19 guidelines, participants are to register prior to participating so we can manage participant numbers throughout our Memorial May event. 

Why does the organization do this event every year?

First and foremost, Carry The Load exists to raise awareness for the true meaning of Memorial Day. Secondly, we raise funds to help provide much needed healing and support to those who serve and sacrifice for us daily. This Memorial May, we raised $1.5 million in peer-to-peer fundraising, and 100% of that will go toward services that help our heroes. Lastly, to inspire patriotism in our nation’s youth.

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What does this event mean for families of fallen military and first responders?

Our events remind us that men and women are putting their lives at risk daily to keep our nation safe. The relay brings people together all across the country to honor those who make these daily sacrifices for our freedom. Carry The Load provides healing for families and friends of the fallen. It helps ensure the memory of their loved one will never be forgotten. 

How many cities are typically on the relay each year?

This year we have four routes operating daily throughout the month of May and covering more than 15,500 miles, reaching all 50 states and 29-plus countries with more than 70 city rallies:

  • 4,700-mile​ West Coast Route​ from Seattle, Washington
  • 3,700-mile​ Mountain States Route​ from Minot, North Dakota
  • 4,100-mile ​Midwest Route​ from Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 3,000-mile​ East Coast Route ​from West Point, New York

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How can people find out more about Carry The Load?

To find out more about the organization and mission, go to their website at www.carrytheload.org, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.