Mesa police officer walks over 400 miles in honor of fallen heroes

Officer Shawn Patterson is honoring his friends, Tyler Holtz and Richardo Cerros Jr., by walking 425 miles to their hometowns in California.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 7:54 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Mesa police officer Shawn Patterson is walking for a cause. On a 425-mile trek, he will be walking in honor of his two friends killed in the line of duty. “I’ve wanted to come up with a way to honor them. At my first deployment to Afghanistan, I lost two of my close friends,” Patterson said.

For four years, Patterson was a U.S. Army ranger and was deployed to Afghanistan twice. In 2011, his two friends, Sgt. Tyler Holtz and Specialist Richardo Cerros Jr. lost their lives. “It was very tough cause, at the time, I was only 20 years old. I didn’t have much life experience. I’ve never seen anyone killed or die before me,” Patterson said.

Now, Patterson hopes to continue Holtz and Cerros Jr.’s legacy. Starting Sept. 24, Patterson will hike for four weeks, beginning in Sgt. Holtz’s hometown in Dana Point, California, and then go to Specialist Cerros Jr.’s hometown in Salinas, California. “We found that’s the way to meet these families. Walk through their hometowns, through the same streets, the same parks, and the same high schools they went to,” Patterson said.

Every day, he will hike nearly 20 miles. Patterson hopes this will help spread awareness about the sacrifices our soldiers and their families make. He also hopes to raise $250,000 to help build permanent memorials for Sgt. Holtz and Specialist Cerros Jr. “They know that their sacrifice didn’t go unnoticed, and a lot of people have already heard the name Tyler Holtz and Richardo Cerros Jr. A lot more people are going to hear that name in the next three weeks,” Patterson said.

For more information about Patterson’s trek or to donate to the cause, click or tap here.

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