Blue Springs police officer running for fallen first responders receives hero's welcome

Posted at 9:48 PM, Mar 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-30 23:27:35-04

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — A Blue Springs Police Officer is back in the metro after running more than two hundred miles in honor of fallen first responders.

Officer Keegan Hughes arrived in Blue Springs on Friday to a hero's welcome.

This is the second to last leg of his journey across Missouri.

The sole purpose of his mission is to honor fallen first responders. 

"This means a lot to them because some of these are four--five--six--seven--eight years ago and it's almost like we as law enforcement and the first responder community plus the community has kind of forgotten about them and so it's kind of a 'Hey, we still care about you," Hughes said. 

Hughes' trek began eight days ago in St. Charles, Missouri.

Each day he has run the distance of a marathon bearing a flag that has been present to the families of those who've made the ultimate sacrifice, including Clinton Police Officers Gary Michael and Christopher Ryan Morton.

On Friday, he honored Fort Osage Firefighter Harold Hollingsworth.

"This is my -- five years -- is next week so it's a good remembrance of him in a happy, happy way to remember him," his wife, Allison Hollingsworth, said.

Hughes was inspired by a marathon he ran last year for Independence Police Officer Tom Wagstaff.

"When we were running that, we knew he was going to make it but we didn't know where he was going to be, we didn't know that he was going to openly talk to him you know and it's Tom Wagstaff sitting there you know and it's amazing," Hughes said.

"I love him, he's my brother," Officer Wagstaff told 41 Action News. 

Hughes will be wrapping up his mission just in time to see Officer Wagstaff throw the first pitch at Saturday's Royals game.

"I've been in physical therapy since December and when I told them I was going to be throwing out the first pitch, they started incorporating that into my therapy," Wagstaff said.

The more two-hundred-mile journey has taken a toll on Hughes' body.

"You know making it to where I can't run so I wasn't going to quit so we're just--we're going to walk and ride bikes the rest of the way," Hughes said. 

On Saturday, Hughes will honor two fallen Kansas City, Missouri firefighters, John Mesh and Larry Leggio.

Hughes is also raising funds for Answering The Call, a charity that helps first responders.