FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — As runners cruised across the finish line, Tim Stewart watched with nerves and pride.
“This is the first time she’s ever ran any kind of race, and she decided to do it for this, so it means a lot to me. I’m really proud of her,” Stewart said.
Stephanie Stewart joined the crowd of finishers getting medals, and moving on to a bigger crowd just socializing and listening to music.
Most of them are strangers, but they know they have one thing in common: support for law enforcement.
Fresno police chaplains launched this “Support Blue” race four years ago when officers felt sentiment growing against them.
“There was a platform needed to underscore the good things that are done in law enforcement. 900,000 officers in our nation doing the right thing daily,” said Fresno Police Chaplain Rodney Lowery.
Officers in the race or on the sidelines feel the support from the Woodward Park crowd, and they raise money for chaplain programs – supporting kids in tough situations.
And this year, the race could also raise $5,000 for the family of Officer Phia Vang, whose memorial service was on a lot of the minds along this route.
“They’re going through such a difficult time. Certainly, it’s not money that solves anything or necessarily helps, but it’s just an avenue for people to show our support,” Lowery said.
Step by step, runners made sure these officers all win.
That’s doubly true for Stephanie Stewart.
Her husband’s a cheerleader on this day, but his regular gig requires a blue uniform.
“There’s always more people that are with us than against us. Those few people that are against us, they choose to do that, but we always know we have the public’s support and this just reiterates that,” Stewart said.