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National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day celebration starts early

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day celebration starts early
Posted at 2:38 PM, Jan 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-07 17:39:20-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is just around the corner. On Monday, our nation will say "thank you" to local law enforcement officers and first respondents. One local group found a special way to start the effort early. 

On Saturday morning, F3 Tallahassee led an 8 and a half mile walk through town to honor men and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty and to thank local officers and emergency personnel.

For the second year, F3 visited memorials at the Capitol, then laid wreaths at the Tallahassee Fire and Police Departments, as well as other law enforcement buildings. At each stop along the way, the group thanked the men and women for their service, and read the names of those who died in the line of duty.

Sarah Cooksey, with Tallahassee Fire, participated in the walk to recognize members of her department. Cooksey, Social Media Liaison at Tallahassee Fire Department says, "We honored several of our own, including Captain Brad Deanda, Engineer Chris Thurman, Engineer Jimmy Allen's daughter, Shelby Allen, as well as Jeffrey Atkinson." 

A special service was held at the Fire Department for Jeffrey Atkinson, who passed away on December 15th. Atkinson was a 17 year veteran of the department. F3 surprised his widow and 5 year old daughter with a trip to Walt Disney World.

F3 Tallahassee is a free, participant-led boot camp that encourages community fellowship and leadership. Tim Templeton led the walk and says F3's motto is "no man left behind." Templeton of F3 Tallahassee says, "When the bell rings, when the phone calls, they set everything aside. It doesn't matter who is on the other end, they go to help people, help our families, help our community. So we just simply wanted to say thank you."

Templeton adds, F3 Tallahassee gets support from drivers honking their horns as they pass by these flags, but it is an emotional day as his group pays respect to fallen law enforcement officers and first respondents throughout the community.