One hundred and twenty-nine law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2015.
To honor their memory Saturday, local law enforcement and citizens together completed a workout of 129 box jumps and burpees as the names of the fallen officers sounded out over a loud speaker at Buchholz High School.
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputy Andy Adams created the tribute workout five years ago in his front yard.
“I just told a couple other like-minded guys who work at the sheriff’s office with me that, ‘Hey, this is what I did.’ I felt like it meant something to me and I said, ‘Why don’t you guys try it and see if you get the same feeling?’”
In the last five years, those supporting Adams’ effort, completing box jumps and burpees, grew to 150.
“It’s probably 50-50 this year between law enforcement and citizens. Anybody can come. It’s encouraged. I know it looks kind of intense and everybody gets shied away from doing burpee box jumping. You don’t have to do it, just come out here and watch and appreciate with us,” he said.
Before the Fallen Officer Tribute kicked off, attendees and their families gathered in the center of the field for a moment of silence. Police officers and firefighters had some friendly competition, but also cheered each other on during the rigorous workout. To make things more challenging, officers wore their bullet-proof vests that they wear daily, while firefighters sported full turnout pants, jackets, self-contained breathing apparatuses, and even masks.
“For us, it’s our chance to come out here and show them that we support them. This is our variation of how we do it. The law enforcement guys come out and they wear their vests; this is our chance to wear what we’ve got,” said firefighter Wlises Mejia.