Zechariah Cartledge, a 10-year-old boy from Florida, was deeply affected by the recent shooting of El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Herrera, and is taking a unique approach in honoring both Herrera and a growing number of fallen officers around the United States.
5k Challenge:In 3 hours, Zechariah will be running to honor 3 of our fallen heroes from 2018. So far in 2019, his…
On Monday, March 26, 2019, Zechariah ran 1 mile carrying a symbolic American flag while his father recorded the event and posted it on social media. The Cartledge family hoped that the video would provide comfort to the family of the fallen deputy, while simultaneously bringing public attention to the tragedy of the El Paso shooting and others like it.
Fox 35 posted the video.
“Hello everybody, it’s Zechariah,” the boy began, speaking to the camera. “Before I start my run tonight … I am dedicating my running to run one mile for the 150 officers who passed away last year in 2018. I do not want to forget the officers who have already passed away in 2019,” he continued, his speech thoughtfully prepared, “so today I will be honoring Deputy Peter Herrera.”
Herrera worked for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and tragically passed away on March 24, 2019, after being shot during a traffic stop in San Elizario two days previously. “He pulled over a driver,” the 10-year-old recounted. “He had worked for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office for 11 years, and he left behind a wife that he married in November .”
“Every time a police officer puts on that uniform, they’re putting everything on the line for strangers,” Zechariah’s father shared from behind the camera. “I’ve been able to see photos of him and his wife,” he continued, “and they were beautiful. Our prayers, our thoughts, go out to her, the family, and everyone.”
Tonight at 8PM ET, Zechariah will be running 1-mile carrying the Blue Line Flag in honor of fallen El Paso County Sheriff's Office – EPCSO Deputy Peter Herrera. EOW: 3/24/19Cause: Gunfire#NeverForget
“It breaks our son’s heart, it breaks our family’s heart, every time we hear about something like this happening.”
To Herrera’s bereaved wife, the father-son duo had a simple message: “Your husband was a hero.”
Zechariah was joined on his mile-long run by one local officer on foot and two in a patrol car, who showed their heartfelt solidarity for the boy’s touching gesture in remembering their fallen comrades.
A City of Oviedo – Police Department Officer arrived shorty after Zechariah did his tribute run tonight at the Rock & Brews Run Club. As always, Zechariah wanted to be sure and thank him for his service.
“I will be running four-and-a-half laps to honor him,” Zechariah explained from the sidewalk, before setting off, “and hopefully to reassure the family, because I know you’re watching. Four-and-a-half laps equals a mile … I’ll also be doing a prayer to honor his family, and then I’ll be on my way.”
Zechariah has been running for years, and even has his own Facebook page called Running for Heroes. According to the page, Zechariah has run over 60 miles since 2018 and in doing so has honored 66 officers by name.
“Zechariah, do you have any final words for the family of Deputy Peter Herrera?” his father asked, after the rosy-cheeked runner returned from the four-and-a-half-lap sprint. “Bless his family,” the 10-year-old responded. “I know the family is watching right now. Hopefully this video brings you happiness.”
“I’m very sorry for what happened,” the boy continued between breaths, with a moral message for the audience at large, “but also, shooting has to stop. Police officers are just doing their job in the community and keeping people safe.”
“When I hear an officer pass away it just breaks my heart”10-year-old boy pledges to run 1 mile for every fallen law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in 2018 and 2019. Click here to help him raise money for Tunnel to Towers http://bit.ly/2EzTU3C
Posted by Fox & Friends on Monday, March 4, 2019
Zechariah is adamant that he won’t stop in his efforts to bring attention to the country’s great losses: “I’ll keep doing this until the day I die,” he stated.
The boy plans to send the flag he ran with to Herrera’s family. “He hopes that it brings them some comfort,” Zechariah’s father added, “some joy, during their time of mourning.”