Carry the Load culminates in 20-hour walking marathon

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on May 26, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 6:12 PM

DALLAS — Carry the Load is a group that helps our fallen soldiers, their families, veterans and first responders.

On Sunday, volunteers finished the final march into Dallas from New York. The journey raised money while reminding us of the real reason for this weekend.

But that journey isn't quite over.

The one thing so many of the people participating in the Dallas Memorial March have in common is that they have served their country in some way. And for many walkers, their service has meant the loss of dear friends.

If you said that Luke Benson walks around with a big chip on his shoulder, at least on this day, you'd be correct.

But that's no grudge he's carrying. Carved into a block of wood he carries is the name of an Army buddy who was killed in Afghanistan.

"Just an all-around great guy," Benson said. "Married another one of my friends in the military has two kids."

This is Benson's second year walking for Carry the Load, which honors our military service members, police and firefighters during "Memorial May."

A walk that started in New York City culminates with a 20-hour Memorial March in Dallas at Reverchon Park and the Katy Trail beginning Sunday afternoon into Memorial Day.

Twenty-thousand people registered for the event; more than a million dollars has been raised for the charity.

If Benson has a beef with anyone, it's that the significance of Memorial Day has been lost on so many people.

"A lot of people have taken away from the tradition, you know, just to sit on a lake and drink beer and barbecue," he said. "I think you have to go back to something like this to realize the significance of what Memorial Day is about."

Marine Staff Sgt. Jacob McCormack carries a flag with the names of Marines he deployed with to Iraq in 2005. Two were killed.

On his backpack are pictures of the five Marines killed when he went back in 2006. He and his team will walk all night.

"It's important to us, and there's nothing like a little bit of pain and suffering to make you remember and never forget what those guys sacrificed for us," McCormack said.

The Tip of Spear Foundation is one of the organizations benefiting from Carry the Load. They support the special operations community.

"Everyone is united by the common bond of wanting to honor these men and women and the sacrifices they've made, because you recognize what this weekend is all about and what makes this country so great," said Patrick Dossett, who founded Tip of Spear Foundation two years ago.

Whether they carry the memory of a loved one or just a deep respect for the men and women who serve, in this march, no one walks alone

The walk will be closed out on Monday afternoon personnel from Dallas Fire-Rescue.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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