A young man born with a gift of running and raised with an appreciation for first responders hit the pavement to honor fallen Massachusetts State Trooper Tamar Bucci.
Zechariah Cartledge, who founded the non-profit organization ‘Running 4 Heroes’ in 2019, runs one mile for every first responder who makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. “He wants to honor those who gave up their life so we may live in a better world,” according to the mission statement posted on his website. Zechariah’s runs are streamed live on the Running 4 Heroes Facebook page.
With a thin blue line flag in one hand Saturday night, Zechariah ran seven laps, the equivalent of a mile, on the track outside of his school in Winter Springs, Florida. He was joined by his sister and a friend. They were followed by a Winter Springs police officer who had the cruiser’s emergency lights flashing and sirens blaring.
The flag Zechariah ran with will be sent to Trooper Bucci’s family along with a handwritten note from him. “Whatever you decide to do with them, we hope they bring you forever comfort when you think about them or look at them,” he said.
“We hope this run honors her well,” said Zechariah’s dad. “We thank her for her years of service and we hope nobody ever forgets Trooper Tamar Bucci.”
Zechariah ended his run with a 21-second moment of silence, which he said is his version of a 21-gun salute. That was followed by a prayer. “God, I know this is another big loss for a community, so watch over Trooper Bucci’s whole family and department during the hard time they are facing,” he prayed. “Keep everybody safe on the roads so they don’t have to be a part of something like this.”
The mission of Running 4 Heroes is to raise awareness and funds for first responders killed in the line of duty. Each month, the money collected is used used to donate at least $10,000 to a first responder injured in the line of duty, as well as a ballistic vest and/or safety equipment to a K9 officer. The funds are also used to purchase the flags Zechariah runs with and presents to the families of fallen first responders.