Saturday, May 2, 2009
Walk the Walk
This is an email from a very close friend an co-worker about an event that will forever be in my heart. In the midst of this day, it became very clear to me that I was in the process of doing one of the greatest things I've ever done. I can try and write about what my experience was during this day, but she has said it better than I ever can. Her words are priceless and the pictures are worth a thousand words.
There are a few moments in our lives where we become the witnesses to the generosity of the human sprit and the will to do good; to give back with out the expectation of return and to feel and see the true joy that comes from giving. On Sunday April 26 your peers, your friends, co workers, neighbors whichever title held, walked a walk to the City of Oakland with the hope that their physical challenge and steps would bring some monetary and emotional support to the families of Oakland's Fallen Four. I have searched for the words to describe this event and these extraordinary people; who set aside their lives and families and with amazing grace and huge hearts embraced this opportunity to "Confidently Step Ahead".
Along the way we were met by people who wished us well, guided us with directions, cheered us on, offered words of support and thank you. There were lines of fire trucks and police cars who made our path safe and straight for miles and miles, each taking their turn at every city boundary. Each welcoming or sending us off with their huge smiles, warm hand shakes and a few tears, a gift I am sure most will have recorded on their hearts forever. Fire stations became havens for rest, stretching and replenishment of food and water. All of the people who cared for us along the way, made our food and provided us with everything needed to complete the walk were seamless and timeless - they were always available, always smiling and wonderful, a well of encouragement. 50 miles may seem an incredibly long way to most, to us at times as well. But those miles passed by with stories exchanged, friendships strengthening, new friends made. Tons of laughter and jokes. Beautiful scenery, a new adventure around every corner. While just in the heated 30 something mile of trekking a happy boisterous group of Vacaville Firefighters with their wives came pouring out of a local establishment, sharing hugs and high 5's, we laughed heart felt laughter!! It was a wonderful funny few minutes they continued to support us along the way in a similar fashion. It was needed! A mother and daughter who are from this county, were so touched by the event that they not only gave monetarily but followed the entire race from beginning to end, cheering us on. That is how they felt they could help. It was humbling, just when another step could not be taken, there was a gentle lift that carried your feet another few steps. There are endless stories.
At the end of the walk just at the city limit sign for Oakland, I glanced over my shoulder, to the faces of this team- gone were the signs of fatigue and concrete expressions of determination replaced by huge smiles, hands held tightly together, shoulders interlocked and emotions of joy and elation. I felt in my heart the presence those brave 4 walking above us on that brilliant Golden Beat. I know they were smiling down having protected our way, walking right along beside us and crossing right over the into the Oakland city limits-with all of us.
I thank you for reading this email. It has been on my heart to share with you a little something about your extraordinary partners and the legacy that they created that day.
The Beginning @ Vacaville @ 0300 hours due east 50 miles of our target, Oakland.
Our neighbors in Blue Fairfield PD had their entire graveyard shift out in force to meet the team in the early morning hours.
Fairfield Dayshift ready to see us out of their city and onto the Bay Area.
Over the Bridge into Contra Costa County
Tending to the war wounds.
Marching through Pinole in the early afternoon.
On through Hercules...
El Cerrito was out in force, sponsored us and got us through their city safely, blocking streets and keeping traffic at a slow pace.
Stopping to meet with Contra Costa Fire...
San Pablo welcomed us with smiles
Richmond Fire stuck with us for a long time...
Oakland Fire Department leading the welcome parade
Berkley and Oakland walking us in...
Made it safe, sound 17 hours later through 15 cites and 3 counties to be forever touched by this day.
Raised over $12,000 for the families of the officers.
A highlight of a young career.