PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - “We're running today for Pennsylvania - 5 miles for the five officers killed in the line of duty.”
James Schissler of Paulsboro, New Jersey is on a mission this month. Throughout February, he is running a total of 159 miles - to represent the 159 police officers killed in the line of duty in the U.S. in 2015.
That number includes 26 K9s.
Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson, with the Philadephia Police Department, said, “We think it's great that he does this. He does it on his own; he raises money for the survivors’ fund.”
Schissler - a former corrections officer - has the support of the Philadelphia Police Department.
Officers are running beside him to honor one of their own – Sgt. Robert Wilson III, who was killed March 5 2015.
“It's great for morale. It's great to bring the police department together. It's great to keep Sgt. Wilson's memory alive,” Officer Joe Moore, with Philadelphia Highway Patrol, said.
Officer Sheldon Fitzgerald worked with Sgt. Wilson at the 22nd precinct.
Fitzgerald said, “It's kind of hard dealing with it coming up on the 1 year anniversary that's why I'm here to support my friend.”
To support a fallen hero who - Fitzgerald describes as…
“An energetic guy who would give the shirt of his back to anybody.”
Miles on their feet means money for law enforcement charities through Schissler's GoFundMe page.
“If people want to raise money or just raise awareness that's good for me,” Schissler said.
Schissler wants law enforcement families to know...
“That people care.”
Officer Fitzgerald wants to raise awareness too.
“People don't seem to understand that we are human, not robots and I just want everyone to know that we do have families that love us, that we go home to.”
These messages resonate with runner Mike Amoriello - one of Schissler's friends and a big supporter of men and women in uniform.
“Every time I struggle through a race or something I always think about the sacrifices and it gets me through,” Amoriello said.
Schissler has about another week to go before his mission is complete - he's posting updates on social media and blogging on his fallen heroes GoFundMe page.