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Firehood Foundation walks from Florida to South Carolina in honor of fallen firefighters

Updated: Jun. 5, 2021 at 10:50 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - For the last few weeks colleagues and loved ones of fallen firefighters have laced up their shoes to be a part of a more than 200 mile trek from Florida to South Carolina to spark change.

“We do these walks, not only to honor the firefighters but help the families heal,” said Tom “Bull” Hill, a retired Orange County firefighter.

It all started when a promise was made.

“Two firemen saw something before they died and that was how it started,” said Hill.

Hill says a few years ago he helped take care of two men as they battled cancer. They asked him to take their helmet shield and walk the state of Florida to bring awareness to the lives cut short by cancer, PTSD or suicide.

“Everyone who’s walked, as skeptical as you are, or hardcore as you are, they get changed,” Hill said.

So he started walking. Hill says since then he’s walked more than 1,000 miles in Florida alone. And on May 27 he and The Firehood Foundation started their “Carrying My Brothers Burden Walk” at the Florida-Georgia state line. By June 18, they’ll finish in Charleston.

“The heart and soul of a firefighter, a real firefighter, they give themselves to the public,” said Hill.

Saturday’s walk started with a heartfelt ceremony before the group walked from the Bryan County line into Chatham County.

“Believe me, there’s times I’ve wanted to quit. But then I’ll get a family member say, ‘Thank you so much for this,’ or I’ll get a fireman calling me,” Hill said.

Loved ones of the fallen have given items like helmet shields and buckles to the foundation for them to carry on their backs.

“Don’t say it won’t happen to me. All of these people said that,” said Hill.

Anyone who wants to walk is welcome to join. Hill says they will end at the monument of The Charleston 9 Memorial Park.

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