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Monday, June 02, 2014

24-hour vigil run honors fallen law enforcement officers

by Tech. Sgt. S.E.
432nd Wing, 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


6/2/2014 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Eighty-five Airmen honored fallen law enforcement officers during the 799th Security Forces Squadron's annual 24-hour vigil run at Creech Air Force Base May 15-16, 2014.

The vigil started on Peace Officer's Memorial Day, which also coincides with National Police Week. A 21-gun salute and formal retreat ceremony signaled the beginning of the event.

During the event, designated runners ran 30-minute shifts and carried a baton, which contained a list commemorating the 286 law enforcement officers who lost their lives during the last year.

At the end of each runner's shift, the baton was relayed to the next runner or team. The rotation continued for 24-hours until the run was completed.

"I chose to participate in the run this year to honor our civilian brothers and sisters in law enforcement," said Chief Master Sgt. Paul Pohnert, 799th Air Base Squadron superintendent. "They put their lives on the line every day and play a vital role in the
security of our base and personnel."

Staff Sgt. Jason Dees, 799th SFS knowledge operations manager, and Senior Airman Brent Palmer, 799th SFS base alarm system administrator, organizers of Creech AFB Police Week, worked hard to infuse pride and honor in commemorating fallen law enforcement officers. Most participants felt that pride during the events.

"I felt a sense of pride that pushed me along during the run...once I was done, it felt good to be able to contribute, if only for 30 minutes, to this great cause," Pohnert said after completing his first vigil run.

"It really wasn't hard to organize. The entire base volunteered pretty quickly once the word went out," Dees said about his first time organizing a run. "We weren't looking for people to run as fast as possible; we wanted people who truly wanted to be out there supporting the cause."

Dees ran his own shift at 2:30 a.m. but also helped other runners who just needed a break. All together, the runners covered 227 miles during the run.

"It was a fun environment being out there and seeing the camaraderie between everyone," said Dees who was there for the entire 24 hours. "At the end of the day, when retreat played and the commander crossed the line for the last time, it was just a good feeling."

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