Runners honor Irving’s fallen police officer

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Runners of all ages gathered for the Officer Andrew Esparza Memorial Foundation 5k and one-mile fun run, May 10, at the North Irving Mustang Recreation Center. Photo by Stephen Goodgame.

Runners of all ages gathered for the Officer Andrew Esparza Memorial Foundation 5k and one-mile fun run, May 10, at the North Irving Mustang Recreation Center. Photo by Stephen Goodgame.

Dozens of runners gathered for the 4th Annual Officer Andrew Esparza Memorial Run at the North Irving Mustang Recreation Center on May 10.

The gathering consisted of a 5k race and a one-mile fun run, and proceeds from the event benefited the Andrew Esparza Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships to Irving Police Officer’s children and students who attend Burleson and Centennial High School.

Officer Andrew Esparza, badge #966, died in 2007 as a result of an on-duty automobile accident while enroute to assist a fellow officer. He served the Irving community for two years as an Irving Police Officer.

Esparza’s family began the Memorial Foundation to carry on his legacy.

“It’s a great cause. We lost our brother in 2007 – and it seems like every year the more we think people are forgetting about it – it seems like we have more and more runners every year,” Ralph Esparza, Officer Esparza’s brother, said. “It feels pretty good, and it makes my family feel pretty good. We lost three police officers in Irving, and this is a way to carry on their legacy. [The run] is not just open to officers, it’s open to the public.”

Most of Esparza’s family ran in the 5k or one-mile fun run. In addition, dozens of police officers, including Irving Police Chief, Larry Boyd, ran at the event to support their fallen police brother. Many of the participants sported a black t-shirt printed with the words, “’Fear not for I am with you’ Isaiah 41:10”, in support of Esparza.

Since the beginning of the Irving Police Department in 1942, three police officers have fallen in the line of duty, including Esparza.

Irving Police Officer, Glenn Homs, died in 1993 while on-duty after being struck by a drunk driver. More recently, Irving Police Officer, Aubrey Hawkins, was shot and killed on Christmas Eve of 2000 after responding to a robbery-in-progress call at an Irving sporting goods store.

Benefits, such as the Andrew Esparza Memorial Foundation 5k, are important in order to ensure that the heroic acts of these fallen Irving Police Officer’s are not forgotten.

Saturday’s memorial run preceded National Police Week, which began May 11. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officer’s Memorial Day.

For more information about the Officer Andrew Esparza Memorial Foundation, visit www.esparza5k.athlete360.com.