Krawl’n for the Fallen returns for its 5th year in Starke
Event helps aid families of first responders who are injured, killed or sick
STARKE, Fla. – Back for its fifth year is the Krawl'n for the Fallen event in support of law enforcement.
The event is organized by the nonprofit organization Off Road United Foundation, which was founded by Christine Johnson after her family was devastated by the loss of her brother-in-law on Father's Day in 2003.
"He was a state trooper in Vermont, killed in the line of duty and left behind his family -- nieces, nephews, three children, his wife," Johnson said. "We started raising money for the organization that does the counseling and support for our family and since then we've just grown into a huge organization."
Johnson said on average, 140 to 160 officers are killed each year.
"That doesn't include the number of injured officers in the line of duty either, as well as our firefighters and our military that go out and fight everyday for our freedom," she said.
Off Road United raises funds for first responders. One of the organizations they donate to is C.O.P.S. -- Concerns of Police Survivors.
"Our mission is to aid families of first responders who are either injured, killed or sick," she said.
As a way to show support, they came up with the Krawl'n for the Fallen annual event, which includes a campout this year at Keystone Heights Airport in Starke.
"They get set up with their campers; they get to enjoy the night of just sitting with friends and hanging out, getting to know some of our survivors that will be camping with us and then Saturday we open up with our opening ceremonies at 9 am, we raise our big flag," Johnson said about a few of the activities.
The event coordinator said since the event was launched the out-pour of support has been more than expected every year.
"Krawl'n for the Fallen has been such a phenomenal event for both the Jeepers in the community and law enforcement as a whole," Travis Emerson said "We've done over $330,000 in the past four years."
Off Road United said this year, they've sponsored 168 officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2018.
During the event, supporters will get to see hundreds of Jeeps drive off-road on an obstacle track, enjoy music, food, bouncy houses for the kids and spectators can also ride along 24 miles of trails on a Jeep.
"If you're a spectator and you have a friend or someone that's out here or you want to take a ride, let us know, we'll make sure to get you out on the trails," Johnson said.
There will also be a 2002 custom-built Jeep Wrangler raffled off for $20 a ticket. The founder of Off Road Unlimited said it's also about bringing the community together.
“This weekend is really about just bringing everybody together showing our support for that community,” event officials said. “They need our support just as much as we need them out there protecting us, so that we could go home to our families.”
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