WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. — The Florida boy who ran to honor fallen Maine State Police detective Benjamin Campbell received a gift from a Millinocket firefighter for his deed to to recognize the trooper's death and service.
Zechariah Cartledge has made it a tradition to run a mile every time a law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty.
Just over 12 hours following Det. Campbell's death, Cartledge ran a mile around his neighborhood, followed by Florida law enforcement officers.
On Tuesday night, he received a plaque from Millinocket firefighter Tom Picard, who gathered patches from the Maine State Police, Millinocket Police, and Millinocket Fire Department, as well as a picture of Detective Campbell and an engraving, thanking Cartledge for honoring the trooper.
"For that particular thing to be sent to us and how meaningful it was, we felt 'this is pretty moving,'" said Zechariah's father, Chad Cartledge. "We could tell that Maine as a whole was a tight-knit state when it comes to losing one of its own. It made a bigger impact than we could imagine."
Cartledge said Zechariah's "Running for Heroes" Facebook page has gained roughly 5,000 followers since the beginning of the month.
"Typically we don't share what he receives, because that's not why he runs," said Cartledge's father.
Picard, a firefighter of 40 years, said the tragic accident shook the town of Millinocket where Campbell lived with his wife, Hilary, and their son, Everett.
"It's taken over the whole community. Everybody's really heartbroken," said Picard.
Picard only got observe Det. Campbell on emergency calls, but had interacted with his wife many times at the hospital.
"You hear the stories of how good he was and always smiling and I saw that," said Picard.
Picard said his friend and fellow firefighter, Chad Labby, was the one who got the State Police patches to send to Zechariah.
"It really hit home with me and I just wanted him to know that the people up here in the hometown that Hilary and Ben were living in, we appreciate all of his efforts in honoring Ben," said Picard. "It struck me right in the heart. It really hit home with me."
The boy is scheduled to appear on the Steve Harvey show later this month.