May 6, 2017

Delaware State News

Group travels US to honor those who ‘protect and serve’

LEIPSIC — Steven Smith opened his bait shop a bit early Friday.

The longtime business owner didn’t want to miss a special arrival.

A few minutes after 7 a.m., a tour bus pulled into Smith’s Bait Shop on Del. 9 as planned.

On board were members of the Carry the Load team paying tribute those who “protect and serve.”

Walking in five-mile segments with an American flag during stops from West Point, N.Y., to Dallas, Texas, the group aims to draw attention to their heroes — military personnel, police officers, firefighters and first responders.

A nine-member contingent of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College students from Tifton, Georgia, and support staff planned to veer west toward Delaware International Speedway in Dover before heading toward Maryland.

If weather allows today, they’ll canoe across the Chesapeake Bay to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, then visit Arlington National Cemetery for active military personnel, veterans and families in Virginia on Sunday.

The Carry the Load visitors acknowledged the gravity of Friday’s services for late Delaware State Police Trooper Cpl. Stephen Ballard, shot to death on April 26 while responding to a suspicious vehicle at a Wawa in Bear.

“We got a sense of it last night,” said Jason Santos, a paramedic traveling with the group. He noted the serious side of what law enforcement officers face each and every day while protecting and serving the public.”

“It’s a reminder of why we’re out here — to recognize those heroes.”

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