A Blue Springs police officer is fighting the rain and the blisters on his feet – all in the name of honoring Missouri fallen police officers and firefighters. Keegan Hughes tells Missourinet affiliate KDKD in west-central Missouri’s Clinton that his 260-mile run across the state in uniform is worth every blister.
“I’ve never had a blister problem. I ran a lot to train for this and never got a single blister. I got like five on day one,” he chuckles. “It was raining and my feet got wet. Even though I changed shoes, it didn’t stop.”
Along the way, Hughes is meeting with the families of officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty to present them with flags as a show of support. On day six, Hughes and other first responders will honor fallen Clinton police officers Gary Michael and Ryan Morton. Morton was shot to death earlier this month while responding to a disturbance call. Michael was killed exactly seven months earlier during a routine traffic stop.
“It’s going to be a special day. This is our way of showing our respect,” he says.
During his travels, other first responders have joined Hughes for a workout. Governor Eric Greitens has also dropped in for a six-mile run – one of Hughes’ greatest memories thus far.
“He really felt about the cause and the mission,” Hughes says. “It meant a lot.”
Hughes began his foot race last week in eastern Missouri’s St. Charles and he hopes to make it to Kansas City by Saturday to see Independence police officer Tom Wagstaff throw out the first pitch at the Royals game. Wagstaff survived a bullet to the head while responding to a burglary call one year ago.
“We needed closure for the Tom Wagstaff incident, if you will. I think it’ll be a good thing and it’s going to provide healing to a lot of people,” he says. “For those around Kansas City, Tom Wagstaff is a hero. He is a celebrity. To have him throw out that pitch – that stadium is going to go crazy.”
Part of Hughes’ efforts also includes raising money for Kansas City-based Answering the Call – an organization that helps first responders and their families during their time of need.