Carry the Load made its way through Yardley Borough Wednesday despite the weather and a pandemic.
The relay arrived at 3:13 p.m. Almost immediately the clouds broke and the sun emerged.
A crowd of supporters at the Yardley Veterans Memorial was there to welcome them into town. They cheered on the walkers who had made their way from Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Carry the Load is a national relay with the core mission of bringing back into focus the true meaning of Memorial Day. Each walker carries the name of a fallen military service member or first responder as they travel to Dallas, Texas.
By now, Carry the Load is a tradition for Yardley Borough.
Madison Woodson, who is from South Georgia, is one of the core members of the relay making its way to Dallas. She says they try to cover five miles every two hours.
Like many involved in Carry the Load, Woodson has a personal connection. Her father served 31 years in the Army National Guard, plus several uncles in other branches.
“The military connection was always in my family. And I always respected first responders,” she explained. “Then Carry the Load gave me the opportunity to go out and show my support from a civilian standpoint.
This year, Mayor Chris Harding joined the walkers for a 50 mile stretch to Folsom in Delaware County. On his back, he carried the name 1stLt Travis Manion.
The namesake for the Travis Manion Foundation, he served as a Marine in the Iraq War. Manion and his fellow marines were ambushed in 2007. An enemy sniper fatally wounded Manion as he led a counterattack, but his sacrifice ensured all the other Marines lived.
During the relay’s short stop, Harding revealed Yardley raised $5,000 for Carry the Load. The organization uses more than half of its funds to raise awareness about the true meaning of Memorial Day. Another 43 percent goes to assisting non-profits with missions focused on helping veterans.
Carry the Load founder Mark “Dill” Driscoll, who is now 70 years old, said he walks a little less these days. But it’s still inspiring for him to see lives change as those involved become more in tune with a cause bigger than themselves.
Just over fifteen minutes after they arrived, the walkers were back out and on their way to Philadelphia.