A 10-year-old boy from Florida has made it his mission to run one mile in honor of each fallen police officer across America.
As of Jan. 21, Zechariah Cartledge has run nine miles while carrying a police flag. Zechariah, a passionate runner from Winter Springs, Florida, is only getting started.
“Our son is an avid runner and is running a mile this year for every fallen officer in both 2018 and 2019,” Chad Cartledge, Zechariah’s father told WKRG.
“Sadly, he has many miles to run but he wanted to do this as his way of paying his respects.”
Zechariah has been running since he was 6 years old, American Police Beat Magazine reported, and like many young children, was fascinated by police officers and firefighters.
He asked his parents if he could run in the 2017 Orlando Tunnel to Towers 5K, an event that inspired Zechariah to keep running for an important cause.
On Jan. 20, Zechariah ran to honor 44-year-old Sgt. Wytasha Carter, a Birmingham, Alabama, officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
He had just finished the run when he heard about another Alabama police officer’s death: Mobile Officer Sean Tuder.
Zechariah was upset and outraged, and even though the sun was setting, ran another mile right then and there in honor of Tuder’s sacrifice.
“The reason why I wanted to do it tonight is because I am furious about this,” Zechariah said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
“The war against police somehow is not going to peace like it just keeps going on. This needs to stop.”
Zechariah is troubled by the reality that families are being torn apart because of senseless violence against police officers.
“Why can’t they just go to peace cause this violence needs to stop because they go home to husbands, wives, children every day and if they can’t see them anymore then that’s just going to break their hearts,” he said.
Chad Cartledge often runs with his son and shared a powerful message of why they run.
“Our hope is simple,” Cartledge wrote on Facebook, “that the more people who are aware of what he is doing will translate into a better understanding of WHAT is going on in our nation.
“Sometimes, it takes a 10-year old boy to deliver that message.”
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