Florida teenager pays tribute to deceased West Virginia firefighter

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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) – Following the tragic passing of Gassaway firefighter John Forbush, a Florida teenager is paying his respects in a special way.

Zechariah Cartledge, founder of the nonprofit Running 4 Heroes, runs a mile when a first responder dies in the line of duty. He has been running since 2019.

On Wednesday, Cartledge ran a mile for firefighter John Forbush.

He was joined by first responders from his hometown and two of his friends who had also honored other first responders who died the same night.

“This story is absolutely, in my opinion, one of the most tragic stories we’ve had to run for,” he said during a video on Facebook.

Forbush died trying to save a mother and child after their car plunged into the Elk River. Authorities have now labeled the crash a murder-suicide.

First responders from across West Virginia paid their respects to Forbush during a precession from Charleston to Gassaway on Wednesday morning. Many of those who participated in the convoy told 5 News reporters how devastating the situation was.

Despite the result, Cartledge stood firm in his Facebook video saying, “I think it shows how amazing he was when it came to putting others before himself.”

Cartledge sends the flag he ran with and a handwritten note to the Forbush family.

You can also help the family by donating to their GoFundMe page. Thursday morning, nearly $24,000 was raised.

You can also find out more about Cartledge’s nonprofit on their website and their Facebook page.

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