TEXARKANA, Texas -- A group walking for Carry the Load is closing in on Dallas.
A team that started in Boston 26 days ago crossed into Texas Thursday afternoon from Arkansas, determined to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day.
By the time the journey ends Sunday, they will have traveled more than 1,700 miles, 5 or 10 miles at a time. About 3 million steps -- give or take a blister -- and overnights spent peddling bikes.
“Once we mark the Red River off our list, we’re one step closer to Dallas,” Matt Reid said, crossing a bridge into a stiff wind beneath low, gray clouds.
They started at Boston’s Fenway Park. They sleep when they can in a motor home with 12 bunks. There are 15 team members, mostly college students or recent grads.
“I’ve always wanted to do something bigger than me,” said 23-year-old Rakeem Alexander. He jumped at this chance.
Storms lashed them state after state. The motor coach broke down.
But in town after town, neighbors joined the effort -- a few, or a few dozen, or even hundreds.
Rakeem Alexander will never forget a woman who pulled off the interstate and climbed an embankment to bring him water.
“She was crying,” he said. “She thanked me."
She said her son just joined the Army. She had more appreciation for Carry the Load.
Thursday afternoon, as two walkers crossed from Arkansas into Texas, a vicious storm hit them with driving rain. They kept going.
“A lot of steps," Matt Reid said. "A lot of steps."
And none of them taken lightly.