April 2019 End of Watch Monthly Update
March 2019 - 8 Officers Down
Recently, I came across a song by Hannah Ellis titled “Officer Down”. She wrote the song from the perspective of a fallen officer’s wife and paints a very clear picture of the struggle a family goes through when a wife, a husband, a brother, a sister, a father, or a mother is lost. There is a silence that is left behind after the funerals and parades are gone. This March such a scene was found for eight officers. This scene - and that silence - reminds me each time of why we do what we do to honor the fallen.
This year’s End of Watch Memorial Ruck is set for May 16th, 17th, and 18th and will cover 150 miles to honor 150 officers who died in the line of duty in 2018. There will be 150 one-pound weights, each with an officer’s picture and short biography to remind the athletes who they are carrying the burden for.
This year will have seven legs varying in distances from 19-25 miles that the teams of 12 will have to tackle. Teams are kept small to encourage the teammates to carry their weight and work together to complete the mission. This represents how officers on tour work together to make it home safe at the end of the shift. The weight is a reminder of the heavy burden some carry home after a hard call. Each mile is the athletes’ way of saying, “Let me walk a mile in your shoes.”
Once the event starts Thursday morning, it goes around the clock until every mile is completed. This represents two things: one is the nonstop nature of law enforcement, the second is rucking through the night and into the morning to bring awareness to the mounting number of suicides in the LEO community. We use the late hours of darkness and rucking into the sunrise as a way of saying, “Hold on just a little longer.” Night is always darkest just before the dawn. There is a brighter day ahead and we are here to help.
If you would like to participate in this year’s annual event please visit eowf.org and click the events tab at the top. Follow the links and find a leg that works for you.
Our monthly ruck will be held in our home town with the starting point being Brew Angels in downtown Milton. Be at Brew Angels at 5pm on Saturday April 13th. Bring at least 20 pounds dry weight in your ruck to match the average weight of an officer’s daily duty gear.
If you would like to show support but can’t make the full ruck, we will be meeting back at Brew Angels at about 6:30-7pm, depending on our pace, before departing for the last 3 miles. If you will be joining for the short ruck please let us know so we know to look for you at the checkpoint. Please join us Saturday, April 13th, as we honor the fallen officers of March 2019.
Nathan Hayden Heidelberg
Midland Police Department, Texas
End of Watch: Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Jacob Howard Keltner
McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois
End of Watch: Thursday, March 7, 2019
Daniel H. Groves
Colorado State Patrol, Colorado
End of Watch: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Ryan Shane Thompson
Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, Washington
End of Watch: Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Paul Thomas Rutherford
Phoenix Police Department, Arizona
End of Watch: Thursday, March 21, 2019
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
End of Watch: Sunday, March 24, 2019
Illinois State Police, Illinois
End of Watch: Thursday, March 28, 2019
Illinois State Police, Illinois
End of Watch: Saturday, March 30, 2019