Since Independence officer Thomas Wagstaff was shot and critically wounded March 29 after responding with several other officers to a burglary and home invasion call, people have organized a variety of fundraisers.
Some citizens have sold hundreds of specially produced stickers and bracelets, and some restaurants have contributed portions of sales – all contributing to the fund set up for Wagstaff's family by Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 1.
Perhaps to the most strenuous undertaking is what Keegan Hughes has planned for Sunday.
The Blue Springs police officer, who went through tactical response training with Wagstaff several years ago and has remained friends with him since, will run a marathon at the track at Blue Springs' Peve Stadium – 26.2 miles, which equates to 105 laps around the track.
And he'll do so in police uniform, with vest and belt, though no gun for safety reasons, and running shoes instead of regular uniform shoes. The event, from 12-4 p.m., is called “Answering the Call: Run for Wagstaff Marathon.”
“I was on a run, struggling with something to do, and then it hit me,” Hughes said, recalling the event's genesis. “Before I got done with the run, I had the whole event planned in my head, and everything's fallen into place. I've had great community support.”
There will be music, and refreshments from Cosentino's Price Chopper. Financial donations toward the 501(c) fund – which are tax deductible – will be accepted. In addition, Capt. Jason Chamberlain from the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District accepted Hughes' challenge to see whose agency can have the most people complete a 5K walk/run. The losing team buys the winners dinner.
That and the music and hopefully festive atmosphere should help break up the monotony, Hughes said, since running dozens of laps is different than traversing any marathon course – which Hughes actually has done three times.
“That's part of the reason I invited the friendly wager,” he said. “It wouldn't be much fun for people to come to and watch me run 105 laps.”
Hughes has run in uniform to raise money before, including the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment. He started running six years ago to lose weight and last completed a marathon in October as part of a triathlon in Louisville, Ky.
Since Hughes and Wagstaff went through training together, they've kept in touch. Hughes even coaches one of Wagstaff's sons in youth basketball.
“We're not great friends, but we know each other and talk with each other,” Hughes said.
Hughes said he has little idea how many will show up at Peve Stadium on Sunday, but it should be fun regardless.
“I won't know until that day,” he said Thursday, “but I'm sure we will have a big crowd.”
Wagstaff remains in critical condition following the shooting last week, which occurred when two burglars escaped through the house where police responded to by driving a stolen SUV through a closed garage door. Those two men were captured after a short chase and, along with two co-conspirators who dropped them off in the neighborhood, face multiple felony charges