Funfest returns to Woodbury to support fallen officers
In the 11 years he's been on the job, Woodbury police officer Tony Ofstead worked with officers from St. Paul, Lino Lakes and Maplewood who were killed in the line of duty.
"Unfortunately through happenstance and circumstance, my career has cross paths with many of these people who lost their lives," he said.
And although he said fortunately none were from Woodbury, the local community has shown support for Minnesota nonprofits that honor fallen officers and their survivors.
Ofstead is once again organizing a fundraising family event in Woodbury with proceeds going to Law Enforcement United, an organization that honors cops killed in the line of duty and offers support for their loved ones.
The event, which kicked off last year, will be held again this year at Colby Lake Park Sunday, Aug. 19.
"This was my brainchild as a way for the survivors to know that we haven't forgotten about them," Ofstead said.
In addition to games, food and face painting, the event will feature a bean bag tournament new this year as well as 5- and 10-K runs.
Registration is required for the run that is dedicated to men and women of Minnesota who were killed in the line of duty. The event drew participants from Florida, Alabama as well as the east metro last year, Ofstead said.
Last year's Family Funfest raised a total of about $3,000, he added.
"It's a chance to bring people together and have a good time ... an opportunity to connect," he said, calling it "an opportunity for us to thank them for sharing their loved ones with us."
Law Enforcement United is a nonprofit organization that hosts two bike rides - 250 and 1,200 miles - that start from Virginia and Georgia and go all the way to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness and funds for Concerns Of Police Survivors and the Officer Down Memorial Page, which have Minnesota chapters.
"In the Funfest event here, proceeds go to support LEU but also Minnesota COPS," Ofstead said. "Unfortunately we have a chapter here in Minnesota that needs our support as well."
The Family Funfest will kick off with registration for the 5/10K run as well as a kids fun run at 9 a.m., followed by a K9 demonstration at 10:15 a.m., two helicopter landings at 10:45 and 11 a.m. and carnival games throughout the day.
A moment of silence will take place at 12:15 p.m.
Ofstead said he hopes the Family Funfest continues annually with help from the city and visitors who support the organizations.
"It's a chance for us to say thank you for sharing their loved ones with us ... ," he said of police officers' family and relatives. "This is the least I can do."