It started out as a method to thank a local military and police hero for his service to the country and the community as well as a way to give financial and emotional support to the surviving members of his family after his death in the line of duty.
Over the years it became even more than honoring Officer Brad Fox – it blossomed into an annual tradition of helping many other worthy causes.
In 10 years, the Officer Brad Fox 5K has generated more than $450,000 for local recipients.
Now, race officials have decided this year’s event on Saturday, April 30 will be the last of its kind as other forms of fund-raising have grown in efficiency.
This is the first time the race will be held on its traditional spring date since 2019.
“Everyone’s excited,’’ said Darren Meehan, executive director of the Brad Fox Foundation. “I think every community needs something like this at a time like this.’’
As for the decision to make this the last one, Meehan said the success from the generosity of the running community played a role.
“Even after five years, we were really happy with the work we had done,’’ he explained. “We wanted to keep going. Then COVID just began to make everything different – in terms of confidence, in terms of planning and so we started to re-examine things. In the meantime we got really good at creating different events that weren’t the 5K but helped the community in very specific areas.’’
Meehan cited the work done for Hatboro police officer Ryan Allen. Last fall, Allen suffered a heart attack after an allergic reaction to a bee sting. He’s been enduring a lengthy rehab process at a facility in Bethlehem and it’s been both a trying and emotional time – his wife, Whitney, recently gave birth to the couple’s second child, son Leo.
“We put together a celebrity bartender event at Steam Pub in Southampton,’’ Meehan said. “This happened during an Eagles game in early December. Through that event, $10,000 was donated to the Allen family.’’
It showed the committee there were other creative ways to raise funding.
“Instead of focusing all of our energy on one flagship event in the spring, we’re going to look at different opportunities throughout the course of the year,’’ Meehan said. “We’ve developed a solid brand. People have come to expect certain things from us and we’re prepared to meet those expectations.’’
As for the Officer Brad Fox 5K, it will return to its start along Officer Bradley M. Fox Memorial Highway (Route 263) and finish at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster.
It’s taken awhile for the event to get back to full strength. The 2020 race was reduced to a virtual competition and moved its traditional March-April date to the fall and the 2021 edition went live but also was moved to the fall.
“Spring is our home and that’s where we want to be,’’ Meehan said. “We wanted to make every effort to get our 10th annual back to the spring.’’
Fox has been gone nearly a decade but his honorable service still resonates throughout the community.
“That was one of the goals that we had from the start, to never forget the sacrifice that Brad made,’’ Meehan said in an interview two years ago. “And also not to forget the sacrifice that countless others made in service to both our country and our community.’’
Fox, a former member of the Plymouth Township police department, was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 13, 2012 (one day short of his 35th birthday), leaving behind his pregnant wife, Lynsay, who gave birth to Brad Jr. on March 25, 2013.
The decorated officer also served as a U.S. Marine for two tours of duty in Iraq, so he truly is an American hero.
Brad Jr. will be celebrating his ninth birthday on the aforementioned March 25. His sister, Kadence, is a year older.
The Brad Fox Scholarship Fund each year donates to:
>One William Tennent High School senior studying law enforcement or exploring a career in the military.
>An incoming Archbishop Wood High School freshman who demonstrates selfless services within their community.
In addition, the project benefits the Warminster Township and Warrington Townships K-9 Units and Alpha Bravo Canine.
Previous recipients include:
> Brad Fox Children’s Fund.
> Families of Fallen Police/First Responders
> Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.
> Montgomery County Special Olympics.
> Bucks County Down Syndrome Interest Group.
> Duskin & Stephens Foundation —Area Police Department K-9 Units.
> Local officers Bryan Rickards and Ryan Allen and their families.
“We want to continue to tell Brad’s story,’’ Meehan said in an interview awhile back. “Brad literally did everything he could for his country and then for his community. Since his kids wouldn’t have a chance to know their father personally, part of what we do is to continue to tell Brad’s story and build upon that for them. Also to communicate to Brad’s entire family, not just his widow and his kids, but his parents, grandparents, brother. . .just to communicate to them that Brad’s sacrifice isn’t forgotten.’’
At a time like this, it’s almost as if this sort of recognition should be shared by the frontline workers’ community.
“The reality is we still have countless men and women who are putting their lives on the line,’’ Meehan said. “Both in our neighborhoods and scross the globe. Our commitment has always been to honor Brad and folks like Brad who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and community. Our mission of honoring people like that, it doesn’t stop.’’
For more information and to register for the 5K, visit www.bradfoxday.com.
Bucks County Roadrunners Club Winter Series Pick Your Way 4.6-Miler, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown. Contact www.bcrrclub.com