by Derek Lacey / Staff Writer
May 12 marks the start of National Police Week, a week to remember what police officers do for our communities, and to remember those officers that gave their lives in that service.
Queen’s Grant High School and Mint Hill Police Department are putting together the Soles to Remember 5K race, May 18, to benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is the nation’s monument to all law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty. Two 304-foot-long walls are carved with the names of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers-more than 19,000-who have been killed throughout U.S. history, dating back to 1791, the first known death.
The run is being sponsored by Mint Hill Police Department and the Community Connections Club at Queen’s Grant, which in the past, under the leadership of founder Melanie Moore, has been involved in raising money for Special Olympics, Project Unify, and serving food to the homeless.
“The Community Connections Club is a way for students to get plugged into the community and do community service,” said Robyn Marlin, of Queen’s Grant. “We’re always looking for ways for the club to volunteer.”
Corporate sponsors for the event so far are Chick-Fil-A, Monster, Bi-Lo Grocery, Powerade, Food Lion, and Pine Lake Country Club.
The goal for the 5K is to register 100 racers and raise $3,000 for NLEOMF, the minimum for donations to the effort.
Officer Michael Gainey is helping to organize the event with Queen’s Grant, and said his inspiration for putting together an event like this is awareness and honoring officers who have given their lives.
“These officers gave their lives to protect them and their families, so I just want to let kids know and let the community know that there’s an actual week observed for these officers,” Gainey said. “They can take this time during the run when they can think about what they’re doing, they know there’s officers out there that are leaving work every day and may not come home and they’re doing it for them.”
Marlin said another motivator for her is the memory of Officers John Burnett and Andy Nobles, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officers who died in the line of duty nearly 20 years ago.
“His memory (Burnett) is a motivation for me,” Marlin said. “I think that that’s people that we should never forget.”
The race will begin and end at Pine Lake Country Club, and begins at 8 am. Early registration costs $20, and registration day of costs $25. Each runner will get a T-shirt.
Plans are to make the Soles to Remember 5K an annual event to benefit the NLEOMF.
To register for the race, runners can contact Queen’s Grant or Mint Hill Police.
This is the first time the police department and the high school have worked to raise money for the NLEOMF, and Sergeant Thomas McKenzie, of Mint Hill Police Department, will be participating in a 500-mile bike ride from Charlotte to Washington D.C. in support of the same cause.
At Queen’s Grant, a competition among the students, to see who can raise the most money, and the student who does will get their name on the T-shirt. Students will also be staffing the event on the day of the race, helping to set up the route, and supply water to runners.
Organizers are still looking for local sponsors, and will placing flyers around town and establishing a website for people to find information for sponsoring and to register for the race.