POST FALLS, Idaho - Kootenai County first responders are teaming up with the community to raise money for a North Idaho organization dedicated to serving the men and women who serve the community. The fundraiser comes days after an officer-involved shooting, which has re-ignited the community's commitment to honoring and supporting local law enforcement.
The Kootenai County Police and Fire Memorial Foundation's indoor charity ride and silent auction at the Peak Health and Wellness Center in Post Falls was packed with first responders from across North Idaho Friday morning as they kicked off the event's tenth year with a symbolic ride on stationary bikes while in full uniform.
It was a time of reflection and camaraderie.
Post Falls Police Captain Jason Mealer and Coeur d'Alene Police Sargent Jana Alleman rode next to each other and explained why they got into this career.
"It's something I felt a calling to. It was meant for me to do," Mealer said.
"I really do like helping people out. I like to be involved in the community," Alleman said.
This job means joining a family dedicated to service and protection. But, sometimes the ones who help others need some help. That's why several first responders and residents came together for the charity ride and silent auction.
The goal was to raise money for police officers and firefighters in Kootenai County who need financial help when they get sick or injured, or for their families when the job turns deadly.
Kootenai County Police and Fire Memorial Director and Founder Addison Arce said all the money they raise goes to local first responders or their families.
"The hardest thing is to ask for help and every one of them that have needed assistance will break your heart. It's a need," Arce said.
That need is something a lot of people have thought about this week. Many of the officers at the benefit came straight there Friday morning where Coeur d'Alene Police Officer Charles Hatley was released from treatment after being shot during a traffic stop Tuesday.
"It is a big struggle, what we faced this week. it is difficult, but being here today makes me feel very proud for what I do," Alleman said.
And judging by the show of support by event participants, many people across North Idaho are very proud of what local first responders do, too.
The charity ride and silent auction ends at midnight and is open to the public. Organizers hope to raise more than $28,000.
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