Fla. (WJHL) — From hundreds of miles away, one Florida boy, Zechariah Cartledge, took it upon himself to honor fallen Adwolfe VFD longtime firefighter Charles “Dog” C. Woods Monday night.
This isn’t the 11-year-old runner’s first mile, though. Cartledge has gained national attention following his devotion to remember fallen first responders from across the country, sporting running shoes with a flag in hand.
He runs in coordination with Running 4 Heroes, Inc., a nonprofit organization that launched after Cartledge discovered his passion and quest to honor those who gave all.
Cartledge’s 8:30 p.m. run for Woods marked the 656th mile he’s ran to commemorate first responders and was the boy’s third mile-run in a single night.
Cartledge spoke with News Channel 11 on Monday after running 3 miles for three recently fallen first responders. He said the events of 9/11 are essentially what inspired him to raise awareness for first responders.
“I saw these first responders going into this burning building to save lives, and I see all these people — all these first responders — doing all they can to save as many lives as possible, and yet most of what I hear of these first responders I hear in a negative way.”
The young runner said that once he’s 18 years old, he plans to pass down the responsibility to another young avid runner with the same determination to honor those who sacrificed everything.
“I plan to keep the nonprofit; I plan to continue doing some stuff with the nonprofit,” Cartledge said. “But we would like to pass it down to a kid who’s 9 or 10 at the time when I’m 18 so we can redo the process…We plan to keep passing it down and passing it down; it’s like a generational thing.”
For those interested in donating to Running 4 Heroes, Inc., CLICK HERE.