Carry the Load passes through Quincy and Keokuk

Published: May. 22, 2022 at 5:35 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Nine men walked and cycled several miles through Quincy, Illinois, Keokuk, Iowa, and Burlington, Iowa on Sunday to raise awareness for those who died serving the country as part of Carry the Load’s annual Memorial month relay.

Since 2011, Carry the Load’s mission has been to bring back the true meaning of Memorial Day. Initially a march in Dallas, TX, the organization grew into something national that goes on for the month of May in all the regions of the U.S. The Midwest relay was added in 2019 and this is Carry the Load’s third time through Quincy.

“I’m carrying a load for over 200 people with me,” said veteran Rodney Bennett upon completing his two-and-a-half-mile-long walk from the Quincy Fire Department to the Quincy National Cemetery.

Bennett said he is doing it for fallen heroes he has personally worked with and for others throughout history.

“There’s the most recent activity in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Bennett said. “And people in our community that have passed because of action in our community.”

He got up at 4 a.m. this morning and drove from Mackinaw, Illinois to partake in this memorial service. With him, he carried an American flag and a 60-pound rucksack the whole way with three other men he had just met that morning.

“This is actually my first time,” Bennett said. “And I actually just heard about this organization.”

Carry the Load Midwest Region Relay Manager Mike Golden said the organization will work to honor fallen heroes locally at each destination they go to.

“When we meet with people and walk with people, we do solicit,” Golden said. “If there’s someone they are carrying or would like us to carry we will definitely do that.”

Golden said the Midwest region relay began on May 7 in Minneapolis. They spend one month traveling across the Midwest to honor heroes at national cemeteries.

“I carry officer Hopper,” Golden said. “And, all of us carry somebody. All of us have loved ones who served and it’s important to get out there and honor them.”

Golden said they will end their relay in Dallas at the end of the month where all Carry the Load regions come together and march on Memorial Day weekend.

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