Chad Cartledge, Zechariah’s father, told The Epoch Times that his son wants to honor not only firefighters and police officers, but all of our nation’s heroes.
“Zechariah’s mission is to put aside politics and honor our fallen heroes who give their lives in service,” Chad said. “His nonprofit also has a military branch in which our fallen service members are honored with a one-mile run, though those runs are done by a veteran who is part of Zechariah’s Running 4 Heroes team.”
Last month, the 12-year-old gave a $5,000 check to another injured officer, California Highway Patrol officer David Gordon.
Among those Zechariah has honored by running are Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan, CHP officer Andrew Moyer, CHP Sergeant Steven Licon, and El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Ishmael.
It has been nearly two years since Zechariah started running for fallen heroes. His first run was for fallen Davis police officer Natalie Corona, who he says was the inspiration for this venture.
“January 12, 2019, I ran for her, and that’s what started my whole entire mission,” he said.
“Natalie always holds a place in my heart, so knowing that I got to see her mural and get a picture with her and her family at the mural, that was also incredible,” he said.
Zechariah isn’t running alone. His mission has inspired other children to follow in his footsteps, too.
“We run for every single fallen officer and firefighter who lost their life in the line of duty,” Zechariah said.
He plans to continue running for fallen heroes until he turns 18, when he intends to hand over his mission to a younger runner.