In the days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Milford Police Officer Michael Compare was called in to assist Newtown Police. When he witnessed the sadness surrounding the tragedy, he knew he needed to help even more.
“Obviously, I wanted to be able to do something, and there’s not a lot I can do,” Compare said.
But there was something.
At the time, Officer Compare was signing up for the Rev3 Half-Ironman at Lake Quassy and decided to compete in honor of Chase Kowalski, the energetic 7-year-old who had competed in his own races before he was killed in the school shooting.
“He had started running races at the age of 5 or 6 and had done his first triathlon at 6, and when I was a kid, I had started doing races around 5 or 6 years old myself, some local track meets, and got involved in the local running community and have been involved ever since,” Compare said.
With that in mind, Compare started raising money for Kowalski’s memorial fund and Race 4 Chase, both of which were set up by Kowalski’s parents to remember their son and the others who lost their lives.
“They were just really surprised that people from not only Connecticut but all over -- runners, triathletes, cyclists -- wanted to help out,” Compare said.
They wanted to help to follow the message of Kowalski’s fund to “turn tragedy into triumph.”
“There’s not a lot us here in Milford can do to help those people to heal or get back where they were, but if we can, every time we run a race, remember Chase and all the other (students and) educators, it’s a small way to give back and turn something so negative into something positive,” Compare said.
Compare’s goal for the race is $3,000. Donations can be made online or you can make checks payable to Chase Kowalski Memorial Fund, Race4Chase, P.O. Box 2210, Milford, CT 06460.