Carry the Load travels through Tri-States to honor veterans, first responders

Published: May. 21, 2023 at 8:29 PM CDT
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KEOKUK (WGEM) - With Memorial Day one week from Monday, five different Carry the Load Crews are making their way through 48 states, covering more than 20,000 miles in the month of May.

The Midwest crew made two stops in the Tri-States on Sunday. One at Quincy National Cemetery and the other at Keokuk National Cemetery.

10 walkers made their way into Keokuk National Cemetery around 2 p.m., each with the commonality that they’ve lost someone close to them.

Keokuk native Ken Adams remembers his brother Benjamin Adams during Sunday’s walk.

“He was a good brother, a great friend, many people lost a good guy,” Ken Adams said.

Benjamin Adams was a U.S. Army veteran having served in 200 missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2017, Benjamin Adams lost his life to suicide.

“Talk to somebody, get ahold of somebody,” Ken Adams said. “People need to make that effort to go see them and make that contact.”

Last year, Carry the Load added a fifth relay team, the New England crew.

While some choose to walk, other relay crew members are biking certain legs of the trip. Retired Dallas Police Officer Miguel Sarmiento is one biker that is carrying two people.

Sarmiento said some bike up to 70 miles at a time multiple times per day.

“When we do this, we honor everybody by keeping their names alive because once you stop talking about them, people tend to disappear,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento carries a former co-worker at Dallas Police Department that was shot and killed while trying to execute an arrest warrant. He’s also carrying his nephew who was killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom at just 19-years old.

“He was with the Texas National Guard unit, he wasn’t supposed to be out in the field, but the Marines were short one driver and he volunteered to go with them,” Sarmiento said.

Every May, Carry the Load travels across the country. This year is the 11th year.

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