AT&T Employees Volunteer to Honor the True Meaning of Memorial Day

AT&T Employees Volunteer to Honor the True Meaning of Memorial Day

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 9:05am


By JoHanna Martinez, AT&T Lead Staffing Manager

I’m a veteran of the U.S. Marines, AT&T’s lead military staffing manager, working mom and I have a picture of a Marine that sits on my desk.

My cousin Gene Ramirez, SSgt USMC lost his life in Fallujah, Iraq on November 10, 2004 – the Marine Corps’ birthday, oddly enough.  Gene and I are one year apart, and he enlisted shortly after I did.  I remember coming back from boot camp and telling him, “if I can do it, you can!” 

I also remember the phone call I received with the news that two Marines in dress blues went to my aunt’s house to tell her that Gene had passed. It was a day that changed our family forever. 

From that day forward, his picture sits on my desk as a reminder of the freedom my family enjoys, because of his ultimate sacrifice.  He’s the real reason why I’m volunteering to “Carry The Load”. He’s the person that I will be “carrying” on Memorial Day. 

Volunteers Carry the Load

Hundreds of AT&T Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG) members from all over the country are supporting the nonprofit organization, Carry The Load, this Memorial Day. Carry The Load exists to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day by honoring the sacrifices made by members of the military, law enforcement officers, firefighters and rescue personnel.

 “Carry The Load was a life-changing event,” said Linda Tingley, AT&T employee who walked from West Point Cemetery to Fort Montgomery, NY. “It was a humbling experience to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have fought and defended the freedoms we enjoy every day.” 

The Carry The Load relay stepped off April 29 from West Point, NY and is nearing the close of its 2,000 mile relay to Dallas this weekend.

I had heard of “Carry The Load”, but never really knew the details and depth of the message.  Once I was introduced to the purpose of bringing back the real meaning to Memorial Day, I felt like it was something my son and I needed to do together. On Monday, May 26 - Memorial Day - my son and I will cheer for those who have volunteered to Carry The Load on the final part of their journey. We will join them in remembering and honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

I will be thinking of Gene on Monday, as I do every day, and doing my best to show him how grateful I am for him and for all the servicemembers that are protecting us.

Visit to join in restoring the true meaning of Memorial Day.