Florida boy who runs to honor fallen heroes dedicates mile to Burlington firefighter

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WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. (WTNH) — A boy in Florida who runs to honor fallen heroes recently dedicated a mile to a Connecticut firefighter.

12-year-old Zechariah Cartledge ran a mile Monday evening for fallen Burlington firefighter and EMT Colin McFadden, who died while on duty, battling the massive fire at the New Hartford House building earlier this month. Running 4 Heroes posted the video of the mile to Facebook.

Cartledge founded Running 4 Heroes when he was 10 years old and has since run nearly 1,000 miles for the non-profit organization.

“If we didn’t have these people that can not only [uphold] the law but keep everybody safe, the world would be a complete chaos without anybody making sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do. So, that’s what really tagged me to liking first responders and when I found out how many lose their lives every year, that made me want to start doing something for them,” Cartledge told News 8.

Over his shoulder during his run for McFadden, Cartledge carried the Red Line Flag, a black and white American flag with one red stripe, which symbolizes support and solidarity with fire service personnel.

Police cruisers followed Cartledge as he went around the paved loop seven times to equal a mile. The sound of sirens and a bagpipe playing “Amazing Grace” and other tunes could be heard during the mile run for McFadden.

“I hope you all heal very soon to the passing of your loved one,” Cartledge said, addressing McFadden’s loved ones after the completed mile.

“This passing was one of the most unexpected stories I have ever heard of,” Cartledge added, describing how McFadden, 26, had served six years with the Burlington Fire Department when he responded to the New Hartford building fire and later died after suffering from a medical emergency he experienced at the scene. It turned out McFadden was suffering from an undiagnosed case of leukemia.

Cartledge concluded the video with a 21-second moment of silence. He also completed two more miles in separate videos to honor two other fallen heroes that evening.

Cartledge will be sending the red line flag he ran with to McFadden’s family, along with a handwritten note.

Running 4 Heroes not only pays tribute to fallen law enforcement officers and first responders nationwide but also raises funds for grants that help injured first responders. For more information and to join the hundreds of thousands of people that follow Cartledge’s runs, visit the Running 4 Heroes Facebook page.

Calling hours for McFadden’s funeral will be on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Funk Funeral Home in Bristol, Conn. Mass will be on Thursday at 11 a.m. at Saint Matthew Church in Bristol, followed by a burial at Saint Joseph Cemetery.

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