Family, friends and colleagues braved the weather in Langford Saturday to honour a fallen police officer at the first annual Sarah Beckett Memorial Run.
Wearing matching grey shirts in honour of the West Shore RCMP member, hundreds ran and walked the five-kilometre route to raise money for a memorial scholarship fund and pay tribute to Beckett’s legacy.
Beckett’s widower Brad Aschenbrenner and their two sons helped kick off the run, which also allowed people to take part in a “virtual run” in their own communities.
WATCH: (Aired July 24, 2018) Const. Sarah Beckett’s widower calls for minimum sentences
Ahead of the event, one of Beckett’s fellow officers said it was part of the community’s ongoing efforts to turn tragedy into triumph three years later.
“We really want to celebrate her life,” West Shore RCMP Const. Nancy Saggar said. “The last few years have been quite hard for the community, especially for her family and friends, and we want to see this shift into something positive.”
Beckett was killed in the line of duty on April 5, 2016, at the age of 32 when an impaired driver ran a red light and slammed into her police cruiser.
Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to impaired and dangerous driving causing death. He was granted limited day parole in January to attend alcohol abuse treatment.
Saggar said the memorial run is also meant to raise awareness about safe driving and support all first responders who put their lives on the line.
“Traffic safety is not just for police, it’s for the entire community,” she said. “It’s the number one cause of injury and death in Canada, so we want to make sure people are safe and aware.”
Money raised by the run goes towards the Sarah Beckett Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a post-secondary student with an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said seeing so many people show up for the run proved how deeply Beckett’s death impacted the community.
“This is a very tight-knit family community here, and I knew we would have a lot of support,” he said. “But this is amazing.”
WATCH: (Aired June 4, 2018) Man who killed Const. Sarah Beckett pleads guilty to second crash
Young said the city is also working with the local rotary club to build a memorial park as another tribute to Beckett and her family.
“Keeping something like this in the forefront, it helps those who are making us feel safe every day,” the mayor said. “Being a police officer is very difficult, but we’re saying that if you serve our community, our community will serve you.”
More events are planned this month in Beckett’s honour, including the fourth annual Sarah Beckett Cruise on April 21 that will see a convoy of cars and motorcycles drive down the Malahat Highway and around the Greater Victoria area.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.