Remembering heroes and ‘carrying the load’ through Eau Claire

People walk with flags in Eau Claire
People walk with flags in Eau Claire(weau)
Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 4:07 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Each May, the non profit Carry The Load holds a national relay to remember our nation’s heroes. Saturday, people trekked through Eau Claire, Arcadia, then La Crosse to share their mission.

“Every day we either walk or bike segments of five mile walking or twenty mile biking,” said Army veteran Kyle Lund.

For the tenth year, dozens will walk and bike throughout the month of may to restore the meaning of Memorial Day.

“It’s designed to raise awareness for military first responders who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Lund said.

It’s his fifth year participating in the relay and checkpoint after checkpoint, he carries two names and their stories.

“Personally I’m carrying Sergeant Jesse Williams and Corporal Brian Chevalier who died in Iraq but also being a firefighter I do it for all of the other first responders. I don’t want them to die the second death and be forgotten so I share their stories as I walk,” Lund said.

Nicole Berschbach of Altoona says she walks to show support for veterans with PTSD.

“22 veterans a day commit suicide we need to serve those people its super important to me to get them those resources to help them be the valuable part of society that they are. We need them, not just in their military service but also after that,” said Berschbach.

She participated virtually from her home last year because of the pandemic.

“It’s a lot more visible this year which is really awesome. We are five miles deep into the walk so far, carrying flags the whole way and we’ve had a few people ask what were up to,” Berschbach said.

“In a way it’s very therapeutic because as you share your stories with individuals they open up and share stories with you. It’s ultimately everything that memorial day is all about. To have that moment to reflect with your family it’s really neat and really important,” Lund said.

As day two of the Midwest route comes to a close in La Crosse, all routes plan to meet up in Dallas, TX on Memorial Day.

If you missed the relay as it passed through Wisconsin, the non-profit still encourages anyone to host their own walk wherever and post about it on social media with #CarryTheLoad.

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