ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, a national nonprofit founded in Rogers, hosted its first ever “Carry the Load” event in northwest Arkansas on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park.

As Memorial Day approaches, participants of the “NWA Heroes Ruck & Rally” gathered and marched symbolically “carrying the load” of those they’ve lost by carrying weighted backpacks for a 5k walk or one-mile walk. Some held flags and signs with the faces of fallen service members.

The rainy weather conditions didn’t stop participants and organizers said it’s no excuse to “sit this one out.”

“Whether it’s raining, snowing, sleeting, sunny – we’ve got to appreciate this life,” said CEO and Founder of SDIA Sgt. Major Lance Nutt. “There are so many men and women who have died for us who don’t get to enjoy opportunities like this so, we weren’t going to miss it.”

SDIA is a nationally recognized nonprofit that engages, assists and empowers veterans and first responders to re-engage in meaningful and productive lives, according to the website. More information about the work SDIA does can be found on the website.