HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - We're 24-hours out from Huntsville police officer Billy Clardy's funeral. During the services, HPD chaplain Lonnie Jones said the process to move forward is a crawl walk run process and that process is a difficult one.
STAC Agent Clardy is one of six law enforcement officers across the country to die this month. But more than 600 miles away, an 11-year-old boy is making sure every fallen officer, including ours, will never be forgotten.
An 11-year-old Florida boy ran in his school's car loop joined by just the sounds of sirens, flashing lights, and an American flag.
Zechariah Cartledge runs one mile every time a first responder makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
"I hope by this run for these officers and their families and their department just like Agent Clardy and Huntsville all heal through this hard time," said Zechariah Cartledge with Running for Heroes. "That's my main mission."
In the month of December alone, the fifth-grader has run six miles, including one for Huntsville Police Officer and STAC Agent Billy Clardy III.
"Unfortunately, I have another run to do for a 2019 officer tonight," said Zechariah. "So tonight I'm running for Agent Billy F. Clardy III. He worked for the Huntsville Police Department in Alabama and his end of watch was December 6, 2019. And he passed away after being shot and killed while participating in a narcotics operation."
Through his non-profit Running for Heroes, Zechariah also donates the specific flag he carries during each dedicated run to the fallen officers' families.
"Agent Clardy's flag is on the way right now. I'm not sure if they have gotten it but I know it's on the way."
A short distance that goes a long way in supporting the thin blue line.