Survivors of fallen officers walking 25 miles to raise $50KPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Survivors of fallen officers from across the country are spending two days walking 25 miles along the SRP canal for the fourth annual C.O.P.S. Walk Southwest.
The 30 participants began their walk at Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road Saturday morning.
"There's something magical that happens when survivors get together," said Denise Held, president of the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S) Wisconsin Chapter.
Held says she walks in memory of her fallen boyfriend, Dave.
"He was an amazing man," she said. "All he ever wanted to do was be a police officer. Dave and I met when we were in college in Minneapolis and started dating. Once he graduated, he went to the police academy for Minneapolis P.D., and six months after he graduated and joined the force, he was hit by a drunk driver and his leg was severed."
Years later, as the two were planning to spend their lives together, Dave suddenly passed away due to complications from that leg injury.
"It wasn't until I found Concerns of Police Survivors that life really started to look brighter and I knew that I was going to survive the pain of his loss," Held said.
Last year, eight officers were killed in the line of duty in the state of Arizona.
Danielle Murphy lost her husband, Phoenix Police Officer Travis Murphy, almost five years ago.
"He was shot in the middle of the night in an alley on a call," Danielle Murphy said.
Her son, a newborn at the time, remembers his father through pictures and stories shared over the years.
"He was an incredible daddy to these two beautiful kids and a wonderful man, wonderful husband, loved his job," Murphy said. "We're still always missing him."
C.O.P.S. Walk Southwest hopes to raise to raise $50,000 this weekend to support programs for families of fallen officers, like those walking this weekend.
"It's really an emotional, but also a very helpful, way to remind people of the cost that people deal with, with the loss of their loved one," said Jan Blaser-Upchurch, president of the Concerns of Police Survivors Arizona Chapter.
Held says it's an emotional 48 hours, and is just as mentally as it is physically challenging.
"Tears fall, but tears are great," she said. "They mean you're remembering and you're honoring, but you're also walking and talking with other survivors. And it's amazing how fast the miles fly by."
To make a donation to help support surviving family members of those killed in the line of duty in Arizona, visit www.copsarizona.org.