Westfield man walks 22 miles, carries 44 pounds to honor fallen heroes

WESTFIELD, Ind.-- A Westfield man is walking to pay respect to our nation's fallen veterans and first responders.

In honor of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, Ron Russell spent Memorial Day walking through Quaker Park in Westfield.

Russell was inspired by the nonprofit, Carry The Load, which started as a mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day.

He walked a 22-mile loop around Westfield while carrying 44 pounds on his back as a reminder of the sacrifices made.

Photos of fallen Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Jake Pickett and Zionsville firefighter Cody Richardson were displayed on Russell's weighted backpack while he walked.

"It's really cool because it's been five years since he passed away," said Cody's sister, Laci Miller. "It's good that he's not forgotten."

"Cody was a special kid, a great firefighter and he took care of people," said Cody's father, Tony Richardson. "Ron is honoring all of the lives lost."

This was Russell's second year participating in Carry The Load, where he was joined by friends, family members and other walkers.

"It's so little that we can do to show our support," participant, Billy Britton. "This is nothing compared to what they've done for us. Whatever we can do, I just want to let them know how much we appreciate and respect them."

Russell says the 22 miles represent the number of veterans who commit suicide each day.

"I have known veterans in my life that have gone through a lot," said Russell. "There's a lot of things that go through your head by mile 18 or 19, but that's what I try to think about."

Russell says he plans to participate in the Carry The Load event again next year and is encouraging others to consider participating.

"Have a Memorial Day walk, carry a backpack, get a little pain involved and remember what Memorial Day is all about," said Russell.

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