ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Sheep Dog Impact Assistance announced it will be hosting the “NWA Heroes Ruck & Rally” at Veterans Memorial Park next week to “honor the true meaning of Memorial Day.”

The event will be on May 21 at 8 a.m. and will include both a 5K and a one-mile run. Participants are encouraged to carry a weighted backpack with the names of loved ones on it to symbolically “carry the load” for soldiers killed while serving in the military.

The event is free and will accept donations. Event T-shirts are available for a $25 donation with 100% of the funds going directly back to SDIA to support its “Get off the Couch” programming, which includes Outdoor Adventures, Warrior PATHH, and Disaster Response Missions.

“We would love to have all our friends, supporters, Veterans and First Responders join SDIA’s National team – or any of our 16 Team and Chapter teams,” said Jayme Lingo, SDIA’s Event and Fundraising Director. “In fact, some of the major companies in Northwest Arkansas – SC Johnson, Sky Organics, Trane, Outdoor Cap, Nestle, PepsiCo, Team Direct and Cameron Smith Associates – are waging a friendly competition to see who has the best participation and raises the most in donations!”

People of all ages can participate by joining one of SDIA’s Teams. Helpful instructions can be found online here.

As a Carry The Load (CTL) Non-Profit Partner for the 2022 Memorial May campaign, SDIA says it will help raise awareness and funds that are essential to helping military, veterans, first responders and their families.

“We exist to unite the country through one common purpose of honoring the lives of those who have gone before us,” says Stephen Holley, co-founder, president and CEO of Carry The Load and veteran U.S. Navy SEAL. “This spirit of collaboration among our non-profit partners helps improve the lives of so many today and for years to come.”