AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The Carry the Load West Coast Relay Team passed through Austin on it's way to Dallas. A lot of locals joined in on the walk, but team member Tom Wendling has been walking and biking all the way from Seattle, Washington.
Austin is one of many steps. "What we're trying to do is bring awareness of the sacrifices of our military, first responders and vets and for me the most important is the families that have sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy and love," explained Tom Wendling.
There were lots of backpacks, loaded with respect, honor and rememberance.
Cody Huggins had his. "I'm carrying the load for Major Tom Kennedy who was killed in action August 2012. Major Kennedy was my mentor at West Point and impacted who I am today. I graduated in May 2012 and then I found out he was killed in Afghanistan, he left behind his wife Kammi and 2 small children, Brody and Maggie'" said Huggins.
Monica Velez carried the load for two, her brothers.
One was killed serving in Iraq and the other killed serving in Afghanistan.
"It's definately humbling to remember them by doing something," said Velez. "Getting out and putting into action what their service means, so being a part of the leg today and walking into Austin. This is where I re-started myself after the loss, so it means a lot to me to be a part of it."
Carry the Load began in 2011 when 2 Navy Seals in Dallas wanted to restore the true purpose of Memorial Day. "They are remembering what Memorial Day is, it's not a four day weekend, not a bbq. They are out here putting miles and steps in honor of all those weve lost."