Running 4 Heroes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization led by 11 year old Zechariah Cartledge. The Board of Directors was put in place in 2019 and has served this organization well. The following individuals comprise the Running 4 Heroes Board of Directors.
Zechariah Cartledge has always had a deep respect for First Responders, and developed a passion for running when he was only 5 years old. At the age of 7, Zechariah began competing in various 5k events around the community. In October of 2017, Zechariah ran in the Tunnel to Towers 5k in Orlando, FL. This run proved to be a turning point for Zechariah and the spark that created Running 4 Heroes.
During this run, Zechariah had the opportunity to run with dozens of First Responders, many of whom ran the race in their full gear. From that point forward, Zechariah knew he wanted to keep running with and for our First Responders. Originally, his mission set out to honor a fallen 9/11 Police Officer named Walwyn Stuart, while raising money for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Zechariah spent all of 2018 honoring this fallen hero in his various races and ended up raising over $11,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
It was at the end of 2018 when he heard about how many Police Officers lost their lives in the line of duty that year. Knowing that the number of miles he ran in 2018 was nearly the same amount of miles as Officers lost in 2018, Zechariah set out on a mission to run 1-mile in 2019 for every Officer lost in the line of duty from the prior year and to raise $100 for each Officer for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
However, just 2-weeks into 2019, Zechariah heard how more Officers had already lost their lives in the lines of duty in the current year, so he decided to add an additional mile for every Officer lost in 2019, but for them, he would run those miles carrying the Blue Line Flag in their honor.
Currently, Zechariah has run over 240 miles in 2019 and has raised over $51,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
That decision to honor our fallen heroes has led to the creation of the Running 4 Heroes 501(c)(3), which sets out to honor every First Responder lost in the line of duty as well as support those injured First Responders whose injuries were duty-related.
Chad Cartledge has helped create the mission of Running 4 Heroes as a way to show support for his son, Zechariah, and the efforts Zechariah puts in to honoring our fallen heroes. While Chad is not a runner himself, he has experience in Theater and a degree from the University of Central Florida in Radio/Television/Communication. Chad uses his experience in his day-to-day duties for the Foundation. Some of his tasks include maintaining the Running 4 Heroes social media channels, emceeing the 1-mile tribute runs that Zechariah puts on for the fallen, and maintaining the day-to-day budgeting of Running 4 Heroes, just to name a few.
Tim Nazzaro comes to the Board of Directors with 24 years of law enforcement experience in the Central Florida area. His last 22 years have been with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando. He currently holds the rank of Sergeant and works on the Tourist Oriented Policing Squad in the Patrol division. Tim is a graduate of the State University of New York at Delhi, where he earned a degree in Architectural Technologies.
Tim is also a bagpiper who plays with the Central Florida 1st Responders Pipe and Drum Band, and has routinely helped honor fallen heroes during Zechariah’s runs with his piping.
Phyllis Marshall been married to a first responder for over a decade. Her brother and sister were police officers, and father was a fireman when she was young. Her son was a Houston Police Officer for over 14 years until his recent medical retirement. He was also a volunteer fireman and EMT before he was a police officer. Phyllis has grown up with and has been surrounded by first responders her entire life.
She first became acquainted with Running 4 Heroes after the tragic crash of a Houston police helicopter on May 2, 2020. Her son was the pilot and was seriously and permanently injured in the crash. He was honored by Zechariah as the May 2020 recipient of the Running4Heroes Injured First Responder Grant. Zechariah also honored and ran for her son’s Tactical Flight Officer, Jason Knox, who sadly lost his life in the crash. Phyllis knew Jason and his family personally and knows firsthand how important Zechariah and this organization means to all first responders and their families.
Phyllis has worked with the Houston Police Department and Houston Police Officer’s Union on many occasions to organize and support their benefits and fundraisers. She has been named the honorary mother of the Houston Police Department by the Houston Police Officer’s Union. She is close to many of their board members, as well as the Assistant Chief and several Commanders with the Houston Police Department.
Phyllis helped design and donate the very first Heroes Hero Award which was given to another Houston police officer in August 2020. She was truly proud and grateful to be a small part of this wonderful mission. She recognizes the dedication, time, and effort Zechariah and his entire family puts into this mission and enjoys watching Zechariah go forward and grow with the cause.
Camrin Northrop comes from a small town in upstate New York and currently resides in South Carolina. He is a Captain for the Shaw Air Force Base Fire Department (USAF AD), a Lieutenant for the Sumter County SC Fire Department, and the director of safety for the Sumter Speedway. Camrin is certified to the Fire Officer 3 level and is always seeking avenues for further professional development.
He has been in the fire protection field for 10 years and has served overseas in an undisclosed location as a firefighter for 6 months with the USAF. He is an active member in the community and loves helping others in many different capacities, including as a mentor for local schools, which he has been doing since 2017. Camrin is honored to be part of the Running 4 Heroes mission!
Bernadene Loemker is from the “Show Me” State of Missouri and has resided in St. Louis upon graduating from the University of Missouri. She graduated from the Columbia, Missouri police academy in 1985, where she served as a Reserve Police Officer before leaving for St. Louis and attending the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Police Academy in 1986. Upon graduation, she worked at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport where achieved the rank of Sergeant. Her law enforcement career included Patrol, Evidence/Property, Supervisor of the Police Record Room (UCR), and Deputy Bureau Commander of the Bureau of Security Operations.
Although she left law enforcement several years ago, she continues to remain active and supportive when it comes to law enforcement and the community. She has volunteered her personal time to ALIVE (a domestic violence program) and the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation. Most recently, she and her daughter have taken the initiative to handcraft blue mosaic crosses for the family members of those law enforcement officers in the St. Louis area who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Bernadene has the passion and commitment to honoring first responders, which she believes is needed now more than ever. Once blue, always blue.
Dillon Hunter is a resident of a small town in the Central New York region. He comes from a family with many generations of military and first responder members. From a young age, Dillon has been inspired to follow in the footsteps of his relatives and serve the community as a first responder. He has accomplished his goal of serving his community in many ways. He has been serving as a volunteer firefighter for the Weedsport Volunteer Fire Department since 2017, where he currently holds the tiles of Lieutenant and Vice President. Since obtaining a degree in Criminal Justice, Dillon also serves his community by working for the Cayuga County Sherriff’s Department as a Custody Officer. Dillon is grateful to serve on the Board of Directors for Running4Heroes, after Zechariah honored his late uncle, who passed away from 9-11 related illness, in September 2019.
Blayne Badura comes to the Board of Directors with 27 years of Law Enforcement experience. His last 19 years have been with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Sanford. He currently holds the rank of Sergeant and is assigned night shift patrol supervisor. He is a former Field Training Deputy of 12+ years and is still involved in the training program as an alternate Field Trainer and Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) Instructor.
Blayne had the pleasure of meeting Zechariah Cartledge in the early months of 2019, when the Running 4 Heroes runs first began. He was able to get to know Zechariah, the mission, and the family. Since then, Blayne has participated in multiple runs with Zechariah over the last 2 years, patrolling behind Zechariah while he honors our fallen heroes.
Blayne believes in the mission and has personally seen the impact on the family members at the Honor the Fallen runs.
It gives Blayne great pride to be part of such a great organization that gives financial assistance and helps fellow brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement and Public Safety, which in-turn allows them to continue to give back to the community.
Kevin Fitzgerald currently serves as a Firefighter/EMT aboard NAS Jacksonville as a civilian member of the First Coast Navy Fire & Emergency Services. Kevin got his start in the fire service right out of high school in Wilmington, NC. At the age of 18, he knew that this was a path towards doing the right things. He recognized his calling and passion for serving others. Kevin started volunteering with the Winter Park Volunteer Fire Department. While there, he worked hard to get his training and certifications completed so he could pursue the fire service full time. As a result, his hard work paid off and he was able to start with New Hanover County Fire Rescue as a part-time firefighter, eventually earning full-time status.
While still active at Winter Park, Kevin was offered a chance to join the Board of Directors, then became President of the Board at the age of 21. He continued to successfully navigate the department through changes and eventually transitioned over to an officer role, tasked with training until the department ceased operations in 2005. During this, an opportunity to work for the United States Army was presented, and in 2004, Kevin was hired by Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point as a Firefighter/EMT in the civilian capacity. Kevin was integral in managing departmental logistics and creating the Marine Firefighting for Land Based Firefighters curriculum, which received accreditation. Kevin met his amazing wife Jenni in 2007 and was married in 2008. They stayed in Wilmington until 2014 when they moved to Maine to work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Their stay in Maine did not last long, as the chance to move to Florida presented itself, and they jumped on it. With over 22 years serving his community, Kevin is grateful to provide more service through Running 4 Heroes.
James Sellers has been married to his wife Amy for over 19 years. He has 5 children. Originally from Spokane, Washington, James moved to Texas with his family in 1988. He began his career in public service as a volunteer firefighter with the Converse Fire Department in his hometown. James served as a 911 dispatcher and code enforcement officer for the City of Live Oak before taking a job in New Braunfels Texas. He currently serves as a lieutenant in the New Braunfels Fire Department where is has worked in 2005. He comes from a family of public servants, as his mother and father were both in the United States Air Force. His sister and brother-in-law both work in law enforcement in Helotes, Texas. Many of his immediate family members are also serving as law enforcement officers in numerous cities in Texas. James spends his off time teaching for Louisiana State University as well as Texas State University’s ALERRT Program, which teaches integration between LE and Fire/EMS during active threat events. James looks forward to helping the mission support first responders and their families in any way he can.
Deputy, Dr. Bryan D. Woodard has served as a Peace Officer in the Great State of Texas for 16 years. Deputy Woodard’s law enforcement career includes service as an active SWAT officer with distinguished service, holding the Honor of Merit as well as two life-saving medals. Deputy Woodard also holds an Instructor’s License and Master Peace Officer License through the Texas Commission on law enforcement and has proudly taught many incoming law enforcement cadets in police academies across the metroplex.
A native Texan, Deputy Woodard was raised in Cedar Hill, Texas and graduated in 2000 from Cedar Hill High School. He was raised in a military family which led to his career in law enforcement and being a strong advocate in community policing.
Deputy Woodard is considered one of the top social media influencers in law enforcement; he holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Entrepreneurship and Business Administration (Hon. Causa from the Trinity International University of Ambassadors School of Business and recently received the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award in 2023.
Deputy Woodard takes pride in giving back to the community he serves. He understands it is critical to take care of and protect our senior citizens in all communities as well as our veterans who have put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom. Deputy Woodard believes in investing in our citizens future by being physically present in the community serving those citizens who deserve to have a community leader with excellence, integrity, courage, and commitment.
Robert Babcock is originally from Central California but moved to Las Vegas in 2007. He met his wife in the Philippines, where they fell in love and went on to get married in 2010 here in the United States. Robert currently works in the computer field in Vegas valley.
As a young boy, Robert would often watch “Emergency” and “Chips”, which highlighted the roles that First Responders play. This is where his love and appreciation of First Responders started. It grew from there, as he and his best friend in high school took Forestry as an elective to become a Firefighter. Following high school, however, they decided to change directions and seek a college degree in Criminal Justice. Robert ultimately decided that it was not the career path he wanted, but his best friend went on to be a Sgt. in their old hometown. A couple of years ago, Robert and his daughter, Theresa Ann, got to meet Eric Estrada, star of “Emergency” and “Chips”, which brought the love back full circle.
Robert’s appreciation for First Responders never left, and when the Dallas and Baton Rouge ambush happened, his daughter wanted to show her love too. At the age of three, Theresa Ann started “Love with
Lemons”, which has since raised over $19,000 for First Responders, Toys for Tots, the local Children’s Hospital and K9 organizations.
The Lemonade Stand led to some powerful interactions with many K9 officers throughout the country, as well as new friendships for Robert’s daughter. Some of those friendships included Chief Garivey, Officer Abigail Arias (stay relentless!), as well as Zechariah from Running 4 Heroes. Theresa Ann was given the opportunity to run with Zechariah when the Running 4 Heroes team came out to Vegas to honor all fallen Nevada First Responders, including Lt. Lloyd, a fallen Las Vegas hero that was a big supporter of hers. Robert’s family quickly bonded with the Cartledge family, and the friendship began.
When it came time for Theresa Ann to change her mission, Robert approached Chad about having Theresa Ann run for Fallen K9s. She wanted to find a way to ensure our fallen K9s received appreciation for their service, just as Zechariah does for fallen Heroes. That idea led to the two families joining forces and creating Running 4 Heroes K9s.
Robert and his family are excited to be part of the team and cannot wait to help further the reach of Running 4 Heroes with the addition of Running 4 Heroes K9s.