BURLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) – A Burlington police officer took to the track, to walk for 24 straight hours in support of fallen heroes and their families this Memorial Day.
Army veteran Jake DeSantis marched around the Burlington High School track in an effort to raise money for the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes and to raise awareness for veteran suicides.
“At the end of it, there’s not gonna be a second, not gonna be step when I’m not thinking about someone who’s given that blood sacrifice,” he said.
Two of his close friends that he was stationed with died by suicide last year and inspired this act.
“From there, I wanted to spread awareness and shed a light on the veteran community as well and really every community and just show my respects to them,” he said.
Throughout the day, people from Burlington joined DeSantis for a few laps of his ruck march.
“It’s always been ingrained in me that the men and women in the armed forces deserve the utmost respect,” said town Selectman Mike Runyan.
DeSantis said the cold, wet weather added an extra challenge to an already tough event.
“It’s rainy its cold but some people have seen worse days and I’m just out here doing my best,” he said.
He hopes a day of discomfort and sacrifice will help raise awareness and money for his cause.
“The colder the wetter the better because at the end of the day, this may be the hardest 24 hours that I experience physically, I know my body is going to give up — but mentally, I’m gonna keep going because there’s a higher power that I’m walking towards,” he said. “Every step that I take is one more step that’s gonna spread awareness.”