East Hartford 5K Honors Officers Who've Lost Their Lives to Suicide

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It was a big day in East Hartford Sunday as hundreds of participants took to the streets for the annual Believe 208 5K Run for the Bravest and Finest.

On Sunday, brother and sister duo Stephen and Elizabeth Fengler said they were delighted to come in first place in their respective categories in a competition that’s all about compassion.

"It’s a great cause. I’ve known people who’ve experienced PTSD or suicide before so it felt close to the heart and something I wanted to do for other friends I’ve known in the past," said Stephen Fengler.

The event, in its 8th year, celebrates and remembers East Hartford Officer Paul Buchanan, who struggled with depression and died by suicide in 2013. 

Trish Buchanan is the wife of the late officer and founder of 208. As she commemorates the day she reflects on the love of her life.

"He would be so humbled so happy and I can just see him smiling from above," Buchanan said. "He told us 'make my death an issue and help others that are like me' so here we are helping others-- the first responders and we’re just happy being able to do this."

The goal is to raise money and awareness for police officers' mental health through Believe 208 and the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement - while creating a touching memorial honoring officers who’ve lost their life due to suicide

Jared Buchanan says this day is all about honoring his dad.

"That’s my hero up above. All my dad wanted to do was provide for his family. Come home. He never wanted the spotlight. Just a man of honor, integrity, and character and I’m just doing the best I can to honor him he deserves that," Jared said.

And even with all the fun that comes with a 5K, Trish Buchanan hopes everyone will take away the real message of the day.

"I want them to remember our first responders and everything they go through -- the trauma -- and we need to be thankful for what they do every day and let’s just remember and memorialize them and not forget them."

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