The third annual Badges of Honor 5k Run will take place on Saturday morning near Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park.
About 1,000 people are expected to participate in the event, which raises money for the survivors and widows funds of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22 and AFSCME Local 159, which represents prison correctional officers.
The cost is $27.50 for those who register in advance at www.badgesofhonor5k.com
Registration on the day of the event starts at 7 a.m. The cost for on-site registrants is $35, payable in cash.
Mayor Michael Nutter will kick off the run at 9 a.m. A Heroes Softball Tournament has been added to the festivities.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey credited Fox 29 meteorologist John Bolaris with creating the fundraiser. He saw the event grow last year, when more than $30,000 was raised, and expects another big crowd on Saturday.
The money is needed, the commissioner said, because of the deaths of seven officers in the line of duty in a period of less than three years from 2006–09.
For instance, Holmesburg resident Jazmin Nazario will be a freshman at Chestnut Hill College in the fall.
Her mother, Isabel, was killed in September 2008 when her patrol car was hit by a stolen, speeding Cadillac in West Philadelphia. The 16-year-old driver, who fled the scene, was arrested for the crime and later pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.
“It’s for a worthy cause,” Ramsey said. “Many of the officers left behind children, and the families have ongoing expenses. We have an obligation to take care of their families.”
Louis Giorla, commissioner of the Philadelphia Prison System, said the rash of police deaths had a sobering impact on the entire city. Giorla noted that local prisons have been fortunate that no correctional officers have been killed since 1973.
That’s when Warden Patrick N. Curran and Deputy Warden Robert Fromhold Sr. were stabbed to death at Holmesburg Prison by Black Liberation Army members Joseph “Jo Jo” Bowen and Fred Muhammad Burton, who were unhappy because of alleged religious persecution of Muslim prisoners.
Giorla said the statistics across the country show a relatively low number of deaths among correctional officers.
“I’m glad to say that deaths in the line of duty are few and far between, but one is too many,” he said.
The prisons commissioner, who walks the course, enjoys the day because he gets to see staff members and their families and other old friends.
The prison system team is looking for a better overall finish in the 5k standings, having finished behind the police department the last two years.
“Commissioner Ramsey is quick to let us know about that,” Giorla joked. “It would be nice to have the trophy.” ••
Donations can be sent to Fund for Philadelphia/BOH 5k, City Hall, Room 203, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Attn: Erica Atwood.
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org