Carry the Load riders
Michael Williamson and Brandon Asberry, part of the West Coast Carry the Load Relay team, bike their way to the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment's stables at Fort Hood, Texas, May 26. The relay team made a pit stop at Fort Hood on their way to Dallas. (Photo Credit: Blair Dupre, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - The West Coast Carry the Load Relay team made a pit stop here at the Great Place, May 26, on their 4,400-mile ride from Seattle, Washington to Dallas.

Carry the Load was founded in 2011 with the purpose of honoring service members and first responders who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. This year five relay teams traveled a combined 20,000 miles across 48 states, ultimately meeting up in Dallas on Memorial Day for the Dallas Memorial March.

“In the military community, you’ve heard the saying before that, ‘most people died twice.’ The first time when they actually give their life in service to their communities or their country; the second time is when we don’t speak their names anymore,” David Linsdey, a retired Dallas firefighter, said to the crowd gathered at the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment. “We’re going to talk about those people… so that they are never ever forgotten.”

Those who participate in Carry the Load carry names of service members or first responders with them to honor them on Memorial Day.

Michael Williamson was participating in Carry the Load for the first time and was excited to be carrying the name of his daughter.

“I don’t have anyone that was killed in service, but my daughter is an aerospace medical technician in the Air Force (as a civilian emergency medical technician),” he said. “I wanted to represent her and honor her and carry her name."

He also carried the names of some of his relatives who served in multiple branches of the military including the Navy, the Air Force and the Army. Thankfully, none of them were killed in the line of duty, but he wanted to honor their service along with those his colleagues were representing.

“It’s an honor to be able to be out here and bring awareness to the organizations that are helping to support servicemen and women, first responders and their families, and to honor the folks in my family that have sacrificed so much for all of us,” Williamson said.

Carry the Load support van
A support van for the West Coast Carry the Load Relay team follows bike riders to the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment's stables at Fort Hood, Texas, May 26. The team, which made a 4,400-mile trek from Seattle, Washington to Dallas, stopped at Fort Hood before continuing on their trek in Texas. (Photo Credit: Blair Dupre, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

Brandon Asberry, who introduced Williamson to Carry the Load, was participating for the fourth time and was carrying Lt. Todd Wesley Krodle from the Dallas Fire Department, who lost his life Aug. 14, 2011, in a fire in west Dallas.

“(It’s) Definitely a burden on our hearts, but Lt. Krodle was a great man,” Asberry said. “Everything he envisioned and embodied was extremely positive and if I could be a fourth of who he was then I’d have done my job.”

He keeps participating in Carry the Load because it’s important to him.

“I just keep coming back because the way that I can give time is through cycling – through my legs through cycling, it’s an excellent opportunity to restore the memory of Memorial Day. Allow the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice not to die twice. They died the physical death, but you don’t want to die twice in their memory being extinguished.”

During their pit stop, they were treated to lunch in front of the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment barn and were able to watch the horse detachment demonstration before riding on to Dallas.

For more information on Carry the Load visit https://www.carrytheload.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=home.