Texas man runs more than 420 miles to honor fallen first responders
A runner raising money for fallen firefighters completed his mission Sunday when he stepped onto the Capitol grounds.
"Footsteps for the Fallen" is a charitable organization that raises money for the children of fallen firefighters and EMS workers. This year, long-time firefighter, Tony Constanzo mapped out a 420-mile-long trek through Texas in honor of those who lost their lives.
From Beaumont to Houston, West, Austin and everywhere in between; Constanzo has been doing one thing over and over again.
"My job was to put one foot in front of the other and that's what I did. One foot in front of the other as much as, at times, I wanted to stop. Just one foot in front of the other every day," said Constanzo.
Constanzo started running as a part of Footsteps for the Fallen 11 days ago and refused to quit no matter how difficult the circumstances.
"Blisters, shin splints, swelling of the legs, muscle aches, hands swelling, you name it, he's gone the whole gamut," said John Graham, secretary for Footsteps for the Fallen.
"There are just a handful of people in the world that have ever pushed their bodies to this extreme," Constanzo said.
Tony's reason for pushing through the pain is simple; he wants to honor the Texas firefighters and first responders who lost their lives on the job.
"That's what kept me going. Is like the discomfort that I'm in in this moment, and sure it hurts, but it will go away tomorrow, but theirs didn't," Constanzo said.
The money Tony raises will help provide college scholarships to children who lost a parent in the line of duty.
"I want to make sure we never forget them. As a 31-year firefighter I don't want to ever forget them," said Tony.
Constanzo planned several stops along the 420 mile route.
"He's stopped at every single museum and this is his last stop in his journey," said Graham.
Now that he finally reached the finish line, he'll carry the names of Texas' fallen firefighters and EMS workers all the way back to the bay area.
"It's over now. I'm looking forward to going home," said Tony.
Tony said he doesn't think he will run the same route next year. Instead, he thinks it would be better to do a road trip and order two beers at every bar he stops at - leaving one for a fallen first responder.
He said, "They probably think I'm crazy for doing this, but I'm sure they would love a nice cold beer."