In 2018, 123 police officers, 90 firefighters and paramedics, and nine correctional officers died while simply doing their job.
These first responders often leave behind immediate family members who are instantly left without a father, husband, wife or a mother.
However, two Kenosha police officers are hoping they can offer some form of relief to these families. Sergio Martini and Kevin Raiche started Responder Down in 2017 in efforts to immediately provide financial help to the families of first responders who have died in the line of duty.
They are just thousands of dollars away from raising the funds to help their first family, and in the hopes of filling the remaining funding gap, they have organized a community-based workout event.
The event will take place at HarborPark CrossFit’s Kenosha location, 3417 14th Ave., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. The event is being organized by Dave Yandel, a former Kenosha police officer who is now the head of operations for the HarborPark CrossFit.
Yandel will be leading a workout alongside his wife, who is also a former police officer, at the event. The workout will be organized using the current statistics for first responder’s fatalities and injuries in 2019 so far. For example, 14 pull-ups and push-ups will be done for the 14 law enforcement officers who lost their lives while on duty to gunfire in 2019 so far.
The event will also have raffle prizes for those who do not want to participate in the workout.
Yandel was a member of the Honor Guard while serving with the Kenosha Police Department, attending multiple funerals for first responders — so this event is important to him.
“It’s something that I feel is the ultimate sacrifice,” Yandel said.
Martini started the nonprofit in 2017. He said that he found that there are only local organizations that help with this issue, no national organizations — something that he said he would like to change soon.
“We want to give money to families so they can focus on their loss and not financials,” Martini said.
Responder Down was recently granted their 501(c)(3) status. They will offer up to $12,000 to the family to cover funeral costs, bills and other expenses. Any donations received will go 100 percent to the families directly.
Martini said he is excited about the workout and Yandel’s enthusiasm for the organization.
“They definitely have that connection to what Responder Down is about,” he said.
How to register
Those interested in registering can learn more about the event at the Responder Down website at https://responderdown.org/events/. Tickets will also be available at the door, but those interested will still have to register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/throw-down-for-responder-down-tickets-56711665117.
General admission is $25, while general admission with a Responder Down T-shirt is $50.
You can also donate to the organization at any time by visiting their website at https://responderdown.org/donate/. Those who want to show support for Responder Down on social media can also follow and share their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/responderdown/.