HUDSON (FOX 13) - These off-road Jeep drivers are doing more than just having fun. There're driving for a cause. Every year they raise thousands of dollars for families of fallen police officers.
"We're very, very proud to be able to help out in our local community,” explained Christie Johnson of the Off Road United Foundation.
Johnson knows all too well what it feels like to lose a family member in the line of duty. Her brother in law, Sgt. Michael Johnson, was a police officer killed in 2003.
"It's very tough. It never goes away,” she continued. “The pain doesn't go away; the memories are always there."
To cope with the pain, Johnson started Off Road United with her Jeep club. They have raised more than $200,000 for the organization Concerns of Police Survivors. They started in 1984 offering counseling and support for families of fallen law enforcement officers.
"They're putting their lives on the line for us so we gotta do something when we can,” offered Ian Townsend, owner Tampa Off Road, a maintenance shop.
Townsend feels it's a community obligation to help first responders. “Take care of them, take care of their families, everybody. Just reach out and be a part of a community you know and do something."
Every November, they host an event for the families of first responders. They call it Krawl'n for the Fallen. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/krawlnforthefallen/.