Run to Remember benefits fallen officers' families - New York News

Run to Remember benefits fallen officers' families


The memorial at the Phoenix Police Museum pays tribute to the dozens of valley officers killed in the line of duty.

Among the photos, one of the police officers is Travis Paul Murphy.  His mother, Mary Rhodes, says her son was a dedicated husband, father and officer.

"He loved the job, the day was alike.  He loved catching the bad guys and getting the bad guys off the street," she said.

At just 29, Travis was shot in the leg and groin while on duty.  His family was told he'd recover after an emergency surgery, but Mary's worst fears were confirmed when she arrived at the hospital.

"Within 15 minutes, we had two surgeons walk into that waiting area and give us the news that Travis did not make it," she said.  "Your world just stops at that moment."

After Travis' passing, Mary and her family found C.O.P.S. -- Concerns of Police Survivors.

Mary and her husband decided to attend one of the non-profit's free retreats for parents of fallen officers.

"We found other people and other parents just like us with the same loss -- because in this journey, you feel very much alone and it was so comforting to know there's other people like us that were suffering the same kind of loss," she said.

C.O.P.S. not only supports parents, but also children, partners, siblings and even co-workers.

Christie Lynch lost her husband, Sgt. Tate Allan Lynch, when he sustained a brain injury during a SWAT team training exercise. 

She says there are many support programs for police survivors, but that C.O.P.S. is the only one to offer such intensive survivor-to-survivor support.

"No one's story's the same, but they're similar and so you can get a lot of healing and I think that's really the mission for C.O.P.S. to create hope..hope for a future and to heal the wounds," said Christie.

Christie's daughter, Kayla, has been attending the C.O.P.S. youth and teen camps for five years and has made several close friends who've also lost a parent in the line of duty.

"They really help me a lot and I have their phone numbers and I talk to them..sometimes when I'm having a bad day because I know they know what I'm going through," said Kayla.

On March 3rd, C.O.P.S. will host the Run to Remember through downtown Phoenix. Money raised from the run will help families who lost an officer in 2012, allowing them to attend National Police Week in Washington, D.C.

"The officers' names are engraved from this current year, they have candle light vigils, they have C.O.P.S. put on survivor programs," said Christie.

National gatherings like these help survivors stay connected and provides them with the kind of support only a fellow officers can offer.

"It's a great, great program to help survivors know, rebuild their lives," said Mary.

Registration for the Run to Remember is $45.  The race starts at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza and you can register the day of the event.

 Run to Remember
March 3, 8am
Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza
1700 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007



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