NewsLocal News


Brian Torres walks a mile for each of his fallen comrades

Posted at 2:04 PM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 22:02:19-04

FREER, Texas — Memorial Day ceremonies may be canceled this year, but a Duval County group found another way to remember the fallen.

Brian Torres served in the Army for 17 years and retired as a staff sergeant after multiple combat tours.

"In 2009, I lost 13 of my friends in Afghanistan and so I wanted to walk a mile for each one of those guys that I lost," Torres said.

Torres decided to strap on his 40-pound rucksack, a backpack used in the military for gear, and go the distance for his comrades.

And he wasn't alone on the journey -- Duval Co. Judge Gilbert N. Saenz helped spread the word about the March of Honor.

"We were determined that we were going to have a ceremony of some sort," Saenz said. "We here in Duval County and the surrounding counties appreciate our veterans -- but especially those who gave all."

Residents from Duval county and surrounding areas showed up to support Torres and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Albert Martinez ran in memory of two San Diego natives who died in the line of duty -- Ruben Valdez Jr. and Jose Amancio Perez III.

"We should always remember our heroes. Especially our gold star families. It just takes five or 10 seconds to bow your head down and give thanks for these families." he said. "Give God thanks for these people who have lost their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy."

Avid runner Christy Ray said today's run was about so much more than just exercise.

"What these men and women do for us -- and why we got to wake up, why we were able to run, why we were able to finish this -- walking or running doesn’t compare." Ray said.

The 13 mile trek was not an easy one, but Torres said it is the memory of those he served with that pushed him to finish.

"Because those guys can't be here to celebrate with me today or any other day. The only thing I kept thinking about is keep going." Torres said "Keep going. This is for them."

Duval Co. and Torres hope to continue the 13-mile Memorial Day tribute and make it an annual event.