TAMPA, Fla. — A 10-year veteran of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is taking on a grueling 390 mile run from Ft. Myers to Tallahassee to raise money for the non-profit Florida Run for the Fallen.
On day 2 of his 390-mile plus journey, Sergeant Samuel “Sammy” Gonzalez said the searing heat has been his biggest challenge.
“It takes a lot out of you,” Gonzalez said. “I am sore. I am extremely sore.”
ABC Action News caught up with Gonzalez near Ruskin after finishing 49 miles that took him through Charlotte, Manatee, and Sarasota County.
Law enforcement officers in each jurisdiction cheering him on. Some, even jumping out and running alongside Gonzalez to show their support. All of the money raised during the run will benefit families of fallen officers.
Halfway through day one, Gonzalez said he learned that two Gilchrist County deputies, 30-year-old Sgt. Noel Ramirez and 25-year-old Deputy Taylor Lindsey were shot and killed in the line of duty while eating lunch.
“That obviously plays in your head while you are running and why you are doing this,” Gonzalez said. “It motivates you, it is just heartbreaking, but it pushes you to complete your journey to Tallahassee to provide these families with this check you’ve raise for these families.”
Gonzalez has already raised $20,000 and will present that during the Florida Sheriffs Association Law Enforcement Officer Memorial on April 30.
“I can’t bring these fallen officers back but it will help these families and let them know we do support you we do care about you and we are here for them,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez will be running through Tampa tomorrow. At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, a large group of supporters will be gathering at Jerry Ulm Chrsysler Dodge Jeep Ram on North Dale Mabry near Raymond James to cheer Gonzalez on.
For more information on how you can help their cause click here.