|Updated: 5/06/2013 9:58 am
||Published: 5/06/2013 9:56 am
A group of Tulsa police officers, Marines and others started walking to Stillwater Monday as part of the annual Jared Shoemaker Memorial Walk.
Tulsa Police Officer Gene Hogan tells FOX23 the walk started with a simple mission four years ago.
"I want to walk to Stillwater and earn money in Jared's name for Special Olympics."
Jared Shoemaker was a local police officer who finished first in his class at the Tulsa Police Academy. In 2005 he was named "Marine of the Year."
Hogan recalls a story when Shoemaker went above and beyond to help a young girl.
"[He and two others] had come in contact with a little girl named Miriam who needed an operation," Hogan says. "They made it their mission to get her back here to the state to gets that operation. A few days before that happened they got killed in action."
Corporal Shoemaker and two others were killed in action by a roadside bomb on September 4, 3006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hogan says the annual walk to benefit Special Olympics came from Shoemaker's compassion for kids, and police officer's desire to help.
"We were looking for a thousand dollars that first year, and now we've raised over $20,000."
The three day walk to Stillwater will cover 69 miles. Hogan says the group will walk 25 miles to Mannford, OK on Monday, stopping at the New Hope Baptist Church.
He says, "When they get up the second day, they're going to be really sore, so the second day, I think is the hardest day."
On Tuesday, the group will walk to Yale, staying at the Yale Assembly of God, before finishing the trip on Wednesday.
"The third day, you're mission driven. It's 20 some miles and you just, you walk and you make it because you know you're there."
We talked with one Special Olympics athlete, Amy Wollmershauser, who was there to see the walker's off, thanking them for their efforts.
"It means a lot for them to take their time out and walk all the way to Stillwater to open ceremonies to see us athlete’s happy faces and cheer them in when they come down the road with the torch on Wednesday afternoon."