By Janice Eck
(Victorville)– On Saturday, June 8, runners had an unconventional start to A Tribute to Heroes 5K Challenge and Safety Fair hosted by the Victorville Police and Fire Activities League (PFAL) at Victor Valley College. Lights and sirens of emergency vehicles sent runners off from the start line that led to a steady incline then sent runners through obstacles such a balance beam, tire drills and other agility stations. The Victorville Fire Department cooled runners off toward the end of the course with a shot from their fire hose.
Runners and walkers came together at the 5K Challenge to raise funds for the PFAL gym located next to the Victorville Police Department. PFAL is a program in which at-risk youth are encouraged to participate in a physical fitness boxing regime to help keep them off the streets and offers support through one-on-one mentorships with officers and firefighters who volunteer their time. Since most interaction between children and police officers in particular, stem from less-than-ideal situations, PFAL helps build positive relationships between children and law enforcement and fire fighters.
People from different walks of life participated in the 5K Challenge. 7-year old David had a fun time on the balance beam and found the hardest part to be “climbing the hill.” Frank was not going to let a wheel chair keep him from finishing the race.
Among the many vendors and sponsors at the Safety Fair, officers from the San Bernardino SWAT team brought a humvee and other tactical gear for civilians to see and touch. With 3 SWAT teams in the High Desert, those interested in law enforcement have the option of joining a full-time SWAT team. The Victorville San Bernardino Sheriff Explorer Scouts also volunteered their time at the fair, gaining valuable experience that will help them with their future in the Sheriff Academy.
A Tribute to Heroes 5K Challenge and Safety Fair was a great time for those who participated in the Challenge and for those who came to show their support for PFAL. Just to name a few sponsors, Victorville Motors showcased the latest Dodge Ram, Damsel in Defense demonstrated pepper sprays and stun guns, WSS had shoes for sale just in case someone decided to run the Challenge last minute and came unprepared.
With boxing gloves, mouthpieces, jump ropes, head gear and so much more to supply for the children who walk through the doors of the PFAL Gym, PFAL is always open to financial or equipment donations. To find out more, visit https://www.facebook.com/victorville.pfal?fref=ts (you must have a Facebook account to visit the page).