RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It was a bittersweet celebration in Richland, as the community not only commemorated America’s independence, but also honored those who put their lives on the line every day.

Hundreds of people came out to Gull Lake High School for the annual Rose Run, which honors the life of Officer Collin Rose.

“Obviously we do this as a memorial run, but it’s really to honor the blue and the red and all the first responders. That’s the main priority for us, is making sure they know they’ve got a lot of people that support,” said race director Laura Mattioli. 

Rose was a K-9 officer with the Wayne State University Police department when he was killed in 2016. This year, another name weighed on the hearts of those in the Kalamazoo area community. 

“We just want to honor him, honor Sgt. Proxmire who was killed for the county here in Kalamazoo county,” Mattioli said. “It shows that we’re very invested in our community, we’re invested in our first responders. We know the importance of what they do and the sacrifices that they make.”

Law enforcement officers said the event shows how many people support them.

“It helps us to see the importance in building relationships within the community. The importance of reaching out and doing events like this so we can reach out, show the good side of policing and what it can bring to the community,” said Sgt. Kelly Pittelkow with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

She added that although it’s never easy to hear about an officer losing their life, it doesn’t stop her from doing her job the best she can. 

“We don’t really come to work and think about that, I don’t think. I think we all think about it as being there for each other and being there for the community. That’s why we sign up for this. So we just try to train and do the best that we can and be there for people when they need us,” Pittelkow said.