FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A Lee County deputy is starting an incredible journey. He will run nearly 400 miles from Lee County to Tallahassee in honor of fallen officers.
Sgt. Sammy Gonzalez said this will be a grueling and difficult run, but it’s not impossible. He has been with the sheriff’s office for 10 years now and said he's doing this run to help families of fallen officers.
"I've been running nonstop, it's almost a year for preparation for this," he said.
Thursday morning, Gonzalez begins his 390-mile journey from Fort Myers to Tallahassee in the next 8-9 days.
“It’s going to be an emotional finish. I can't even explain what it's going to be like when I arrive at the state capitol."
Back in 2005, Sgt Gonzalez had a good friend killed in the line of duty.
"I tell people I can't bring back these fallen officers back, but what I'm doing is I'm raising money and awareness for those families who are left behind," he said.
So far, he's raised $20,000 for the charity Concerns of Police Survivors, and he hopes to raise $30,000 more by the time he gets to the state capitol.
"Last year, 135 officers died in the United States," he said. "That's 135 too many."
The first day, Gonzalez will run about 40 miles. He said they've planned it out every step of the way.
"I'm staying in an RV, actually," he said. "I have a 3-person team from the sheriff’s office that will be with me the entire trip.
"My only concern is the heat," he said. I've ran in hot conditions in the past, and it can play tricks on the mind."
He will get to Tallahassee just in time for the state's annual memorial that honors and celebrates lives lost in the line of duty.
Sgt. Gonzalez will present a check with the money he’s raised at the memorial on April 30th.
Updates on his run will be posted of the 2018 Florida Run For The Fallen Facebook page.
Donations can be made HERE.