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Former Navy SEAL makes 1,700-mile journey to honor veterans
May 25th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Former Navy SEAL makes 1,700-mile journey to honor veterans

When many Americans kick off the start of summer with burgers and beers for Memorial Day, one former Navy SEAL will be in the final stretch of a 1,700-mile, month-long cross-country journey.

Coleman Ruiz, executive director of Carry The Load, is just one of many veterans making the hike to drive attention and resources to organizations that help surviving military families. They hope it will remind communities of the true meaning of Memorial Day.

In 2011, Clint Bruce, former Navy SEAL, co-founded Carry The Load as a way to honor fallen service members and to remember surviving military families. In its second year, Carry The Load is taking a two-fold approach to fundraising.

Beginning in West Point, New York, communities were invited to participate in the 1,700-mile national relay, which was divided into 5-mile segments. On top of that, the national trek will conclude in Dallas with a nonstop 20-hour, 12-minute walk on Memorial Day.

"It's about putting one foot in front of the other," said Ruiz, who invites individuals from local communities to participate by walking as much or as little as they can. "Walk a mile or walk 50 miles. But just come out and do what every single family across the country who has lost an American service member does. All those families get up every day and put one foot in front of the other. It's the least we can do to show them that we care."

Ruiz knows personally the pain of losing a loved one. In 2007, one of his best friends, Maj. Doug Zembiec, was killed in Baghdad while leading a combat operation.

"There isn't another human being that I've met who can lead men the way Doug could," Ruiz said.

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  1. Dr. Steven C. McNeel

    Dear Mr. King,

    As I watched your program this afternoon, I was reminded of the fundamental mistake that shows, such as yours, make in analyzing electoral politics. Your guests are pundits and spokesmen (and women) with little or no experience running electoral campaigns. Case in point: the Obama Campaign talking about Romney's career, in May 2012, with Bain Capital. The collective agreement among all was that this is a mistake. Wrong! The mistake is yours by not having experienced campaign planners and organizers as your analysts. Let me explain.

    Anyone who has been involved grassroots in an electoral campaign recognizes the "+ o -" approach to working a campaign and making contacts either door-to-door or via telephone. A "+" is a supporter of your candidate; a "-" is for your opponent; and, a "o" is an undecided contact. Now, a campaign is generally run as follows:

    * make initial contacts with people you anticipate to be supporters (+) and persuadable supporters of your opponent (mild -) in late spring and over the summer;

    * work those expected to be undecided (o) from the start of September (Labor Day) until the last two weeks of the campaign; and,

    * return to your supporters and mild opponents, and then undecided, during your Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) program, beginning two weeks before election day.

    This is proven strategy that few, if any, might disagree with. Also, keep in mind that voters' memories are relatively short, unless an issue relates directly to those voters' lives, such as Romney cares more about corporate profits than people's jobs. Also, at this point, remember that election day is over 5 months away (an eternity in electoral politics).

    Now, who is the Obama Campaign targeting right now by talking about Romney's career with Bain Capital? They are talking to their supporters (+), and little-committed supporters of Romney (mild -) who are unemployed, under-employed, working multiple jobs, or just are upset that Romney simply does not care about working people. Now, reference the campaign schedule I described above. Is the Obama Campaign making a mistake at this time? A resounding no?

    I worked my first campaign back in 1972: took part in several local, state-level, and one nation-wide campaigns over the decades; and, ran for the Idaho State Legislature myself in 2000. I am experienced in, and know, electoral campaigns. Upon occasion, you should have people like me as analysts on your program. I remain,

    your most Humble Servant,
    Dr. Steven C. McNeel

    May 25, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  2. Dr. Steven C. McNeel

    As my contribution awaits "moderation," do I do anything else?

    your Servant,
    Steven

    May 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm |