Boy, 10, displays rare commitment to law enforcement officers

Zechariah Cartledge stands with his parents after being recognized during Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.
Photo Submitted by Nya Ramirez.

The relationship between communities and law enforcement has been a hot-button issue in recent years.

But not this past week at the Capitol. A 10-year-old boy from Winter Springs decided to start a different narrative and was recognized by Attorney General Ashley Moody for his accomplishments during Tuesday’s Governor and Cabinet meeting.

Moody presented her first “Back the Blue Award” to Zechariah Cartledge for his support for law enforcement by committing to honor fallen officers nationwide by running.

In the beginning of the year, Zechariah announced that he will run one mile for each officer lost in the line of duty in 2018, amounting to 148 miles. In addition to the miles for 2018 Zechariah has also committed to running miles for the fallen officers in 2019.

Zechariah announced on Tuesday that he has run 46 miles thus far for fallen law enforcement officers this year.

“Zechariah’s unique and passionate support for the law enforcement community Is admirable. That is why he is the perfect first award recipient for our Back the Blue Campaign. I look forward to following his mission this year and praise him for bringing attention to the ultimate sacrifice these officers made,” Moody said.  

According to, Back the Blue is an ACT for America activism campaign focused on building support for local police officers.

“I just love the police officers too, and when I hear what just happens it just breaks my heart because they do so much for us and the hate that they’re giving to police officers is just not necessary because they sacrifice for us to keep people safe,” Zechariah said.

The young leader is also working to raise $15,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports firefighters, the military, and first responders. As of today, Zechariah has raised $6,135, or 40.9 percent of his goal.

So yes, we proudly share each and every article featuring our son because of the attention it gets. But not for the attention surrounding our son, but for the attention it brings to our LEO community. The positive attention. Our son’s stories are showing the nation that it is OK to support our police. It is OK to respect authority. It is OK to honor our fallen heroes,” Zechariah’s father, Chad Cartledge, said.

Zechariah’s tribute can be followed on the Facebook page @runningforheros where updates are posted daily regarding the 10-year-old’s progress and notifies his supporters of fallen officers by posting video tributes and heartfelt messages. His Facebook page has nearly over 7,300 likes, and 7,637 follows.