A German police officer is set to fly to Florida and run 200 miles from East Coast to West Coast with the purpose of helping local families of fallen officers. But, with the clock ticking to race day organizers took an unexpected financial hit.
It’s no easy feat running 50 miles a day for four days. That's what Officer Achim Dieterich of Ludwigsburg, South Germany will be taking on come February 15, 2020.
He's no ordinary officer. He boasts a winning record in various worldwide races. As an Ultra Runner, he's accustomed to running well over the typical 26 miles of a marathon.
Officer Dieterich hopes to reach their goal of $10,000. The money will go to the survivor’s fund of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4. Doug Weaver is the president.
“I’ve done a 10K so best of luck," laughs Weaver as he looks at a map of Dieterich's route from Vero Beach to Clearwater.
Weaver tells ABC Action News when tragedy strikes there’s often a big delay before families can get financial help. That's where the survivor's fund comes in.
“Get there within the first day and give them a check so that they know they don’t have any financial worries, that everything will be taken care of," said Weaver.
But now with just over two months till race day, their biggest sponsor suddenly dropped out leaving them $2,000 in the hole.
“Not happy naturally but I understand things happen like that. It’s the nature of these events," said Weaver.
Back in 2011, the survivor's fund helped three St. Petersburg PD officers killed on the job in a little over 30 days. Then again in 2014 with a Tarpon Springs officer.
Just this week, national news further highlights the need to be ready. In Arkansas, an officer was ambushed and killed. Over in New Jersey, an officer was killed in a shoot-out. In Texas, an officer was run over during a traffic stop.
That’s why the lodge hopes someone will step in.
“Yes, we do need help. We need people to sponsor this in any way they can," said Weaver.
FOP Pinellas Lodge 43 is asking for sponsors and donors. If you are interested in helping, click here.