DRAPER, UTAH – September 12, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – Around 400 people attended a 5K run and walk Saturday to benefit Utah officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The Third Annual Fallen Officer Superhero Run 5K was held at Corner Canyon High School in Draper.
The organizers encouraged people to dress up as superheroes to honor those heroes that don’t wear capes, but serve our communities. All of the proceeds will be donated to the new Utah Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S), a non-profit organization that provides local assistance to families that have lost an officer in the line of duty.
Each year the committee chooses five police officers that have given the ultimate sacrifice to represent mile markers along the route. This year runners honored Border Patrol Agent Nicholas J. Ivie, Deputy Brian Harris, Officer Joshua Yazzie, Sergeant Franco R. Aguilar, and Officer Charles B. Skinner.
The winner of the 5K was Sam Brewer, who completed the run in 21 minutes. “It’s the first 5K I’ve ever run,” he said. “I came out to support friends and it’s a great community here.”
Laretta Beesley is the president of the Utah chapter of C.O.P.S. and the mother of Aaron Beesley, who died in 2012 after falling from a cliff while performing a search and rescue mission in Salt Lake County.
“We are the family, friends and co-workers of fallen officers and we are here to help re-build the shattered lives of those who have lost officers in the line of duty,” she said. “The money we raise goes to help families go to the Washington D.C. Memorial. We have retreats for co-workers, parents, widows, children and youth. Hopefully there is never another death in Utah but if there is we are here to help them. We will be there until the end.”
Trooper Beesley, a tactical flight officer for the agency, had been assisting in the search for two missing teenage hikers along the Mount Olympus Trail. The helicopter located the two and Trooper Beesley was placed on the ground to assist them.
When the helicopter returned to retrieve Trooper Beesley he was found at the bottom of a 90-foot cliff. It is believed he was attempting to retrieve a backpack when he fell from the trail.
Trooper Beesley had served with the Utah Highway Patrol for 13 years.
Also at the race was Desirae Payne, the president of the Fallen Officer Memorial run and the sister of Sgt. Derek Johnson, who was shot and killed when he stopped to check on a vehicle parked on the side of South Fort Street in 2013. “We started this because we wanted to give back to a community which was so gracious to us during a rough time,” she said.
Sgt. Johnson was shot before he was able to exit his patrol car. Despite being mortally wounded, he was able to radio a distress call.
Sergeant Johnson had served with the Draper Police Department for eight years.
More information about the event is available at fallenmemorialrun.com.