Carry The Fallen- Team Louisville didn’t let the storms stop them from continuing their ruck-march from Fort Campbell to Fort Knox, Kentucky on their grand 4 day journey. Starting March 30 and ending April 2, 150 participants, including two dogs, covered a total of 140 miles and one of those dogs completed the entire march!
It’s not often that dogs will join ruck marches, and it’s certainly not common for one of them to also complete 140 miles with the other participants. Both canines received their honorary patch and will forever be a part of participants’ memories of that day.
“Having a dog join the 140-mile hike is pretty inspirational. The dog kept moral of the hikers going all the way to the finish line,” said Troy Yocum, Founder and President of Active Heroes. “There is something special about this relay march. We’ve had 3 farm dogs in 3 years join the hikers when they passed by their homes. We later work to find the owners and get them home safe.”
Paul Smith who was also part of the entire ruck-march, and hiked almost 100 miles of the 140, has been a part of Carry The Fallen events for 4 years.
“It’s [the dogs] interesting, and much more of a memory for me. I was the only one there who participated in this event 2 years ago, and that year was the first time a dog followed us,” said Smith. “To have it happen again this year was fun to see. It’s like he knew where the turns were and what we all were marching for.”
Since Smith was there for all four days he made sure the participants were safe; especially when the storms came rumbling through. Just 3 miles into the ruck march, the thunder and lightning halted the event and the participants at that time had to wait it out for 4 hours until it was safe again.
When asked what Smith enjoys most about participating in Carry The Fallen, he stated “the comradery. Being surrounded by my brothers and sisters in the military or people who have been impacted by suicide. We all have a common bond.”
This event helped raise $7,800 for Active Heroes.
Carry The Fallen events not only allow veterans to build friendships and heal their mind with fitness, but after being involved with Carry The Fallen events, 92% of veterans said there was an improvement in their transition. Statistics shows that 50% of veteran participants have a hard time transitioning when they first returned home from military services, however events like these do in fact make a difference.