Hundreds of people will fill Dallas’ Reverchon Park this weekend to mark the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Carry the Load honors the sacrifice of military veterans, first responders and their families.
One of the participants says it saved his life.
When you meet Corena Mitchell today, you meet a determined military veteran.
But she’ll be the first to tell you that she’s come a long way.
Mitchell joined the military after high school. She was deployed to Iraq where her assignment was to write action kill reports.
“The first report was about someone I knew,” Mitchell said.
Hundreds more would follow.
Fast forward to 2012 and Mitchell, now a mother and homecoming, had undiagnosed PTSD and struggled to transition into life after the armed forces.
“I got depressed and sad and had no worth anymore,” Mitchell said. “I felt everyone would be better off without me here.”
Mitchell says the first moment of change came the same year when she saw a news report of a man carrying an American flag from West Point, New York to Dallas, Texas.
“When you look in his eyes, you know he’s seen stuff,” Mitchell said.
This flag carrier was one of the early organizers of Carry the Load.
She wouldn’t meet Coleman Ruiz until years later, but Mitchell says her first Carry the Load moment gave her the spark to seek out another Dallas nonprofit focused on job readiness and self-esteem. self-appropriate for women.
Mitchell, a former client of Attitudes and Attire, now runs its “Boots to Heels” program, designed to help women in the military community.
It all, she says, started with Carry the Load.
“Coleman, he carried me until I was able to carry myself.”
Her story is part of a documentary premiering this Memorial Day. She hopes the film and her story will inspire other women and anyone who feels lonely to know they are not.
“It was the first time I realized that the things I was feeling, I wasn’t the only one,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t going to go through this alone.”
Carry the Load is hosting events throughout the weekend across DFW:
Saturday 05/28 – Fort Worth Rally starting at 10:45 a.m. at Amon G Carter Stadium and walk 3.6 miles to the Fort Worth Police and Fire Memorial.
sunday 05/29 – dallas Memorial Walk from noon (Opening ceremony at 4 p.m.) at Parc du Reverchon
Monday 05/30 – dallas Memorial Walk continues until 1:30 p.m. (closing ceremony and storyboard procession start at 11:45 a.m.)
Click here for more information on Carry the Load.