ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - Thousands ran their way through Zachary in the name of East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputies Corporal Nick Tullier and Sergeant Bruce Simmons.
"We're here for them and were supporting them and we're supporting law enforcement all over the nation. We back the blue because their job is hard enough as it is," said race participant Brett McMasters.
The Motorman 5K and 1 Mile Deputy Dash was held on Saturday, May 20 at Zachary High School. The funds raised will benefit Cpl. Tullier and Sgt. Simmons. Both work for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office. Tullier and Simmons were both severely injured during the July 2016 ambush attack on law enforcement.
"Not only is the foundation raising funds to support two wonderful law enforcement officers, this will be an event where law enforcement and the community can come together as well," Cpl. Lisa Blackman of the EBRSO Community Policing Division said.
Tullier is currently undergoing intensive rehabilitation at a specialty hospital in Texas and wasn't able to attend the race. His mother, Mary Tullier said Nick is "the strongest man I know."
Simmons, who was present at the race, has undergone multiple surgeries to repair damage to his arm, hip and leg.
"I'm coming back strong because of y'all as well. I just wanna thank you from the bottom of my heart," said Simmons.
"Law enforcement officers and other first responders give of themselves every day. They dedicate their lives to community service," said Scott McKnight of the Reserve Deputies and Officers Foundation. "This event will be law enforcement and the community coming together to support two heroes who were injured while they were out protecting our community. This is a way for the community to give a little back to two men who have given so much."
Avid runner, 12-year-old Rhen Langley said when he heard there was a race in support of law enforcement he jumped at the chance to help.
"If there's no law enforcement, then how do we really cooperate and live our lives safely? Then people would be coming in raiding our homes and we need protection so we can live our lives happily and they help us do that," said Langley.
Zachary Fire Department firefighter Jeremy Wilks ran the one mile deputy dash in his full turnout gear.
"We stand by them and we work together and we are one giant brother hood," said Wilks.
The outpouring of support from the community was clear.
"As a community, we wanna be the driving force to give them a meaningful day at work and a reason to leave their families and risk their lives as we just wanna show them our appreciation," said race participant Christopher Guillory.
Additionally, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office showed several law enforcement tools such as tactical response vehicle, boat, helicopter, and more.
$150,000 was raised in support of the deputies and will go towards repairing Sgt. Simmons flooded damaged home and medical expenses for both deputies.