SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The outskirts of Forsyth Park create a perfect mile, which is all Zechariah Cartledge needs to show local first responders that the lives of their fallen brothers and sisters will never be forgotten.
“At the end of the day, even though it seems like it’s just a mile run it’s a tribute at heart. So, I really wanna make it as best as possible to show people that we care and we’re supporting them from a long way,” Zechariah Cartledge said, the founder of Run4Heroes.
Every night, Zechariah dedicates a new mile run for a fallen first responder, raising awareness and funds online at Running 4 Heroes. He’s been participating in these runs ever since he was 9, totaling over 950 miles in the past two and a half years. Zechariah and his father drove all the way up from Orlando to participate in this run.
Saturday, that meant honoring Sgt. Kelvin Ansari, a Savannah police officer who passed away in 2019, as well as all first responders in the Savannah area who have died in the line of duty.
“You know, it means a lot to see him at such a young age making such a big impact in the world and doing something good with the talent he was given,” Zechariah’s father, Chad Cartledge said. “I think that’s every parent’s dream is to be able to support their kids and their talents and see their talents do good in the world, and he’s doing just that.”
For all of the area’s first responders, it meant the world to them, that this boy from Florida who had never previously visited Savannah, would take time out of his day to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“I’ve been following Zechariah for about two years and have been watching his runs the whole time, it’s always had a pretty powerful meaning for me as a first responder watching him run,” said Luke Culleny of Chatham EMS. “The fact that a 9-year-old at the time, now a 12-year-old is taking that much time out of his life to dedicate to first responders and you know, raise money and awareness for the cause is a pretty powerful thing.”
As for Zechariah, he doesn’t have any plans of stopping soon.
“We’ve done just over 950 miles in the past two and a half years, me only. And I’ve also given over 150,000 dollars to 20 recipients, injured first responders. So, I’m very busy but I’m very glad to be able to do it and I’m very glad to be able to travel and come to Savannah today,” Zechariah said.
Zechariah wants to continue these dedication runs for as long as he can, as well as continuing his running career in High School. He’s currently in flight school and hopes to one day become a commercial pilot.
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