Officer runs nearly 260 miles across Missouri to honor fallen firefighters, police

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Officer Keegan Hughes is not only crossing the finish line but also the baseball mound after running, walking and cycling across the state of Missouri.

The Blue Springs police officer did it all to raise money and bring awareness to fallen first responders.

“This is something special,” Officer Hughes said. “Every day I have had bad points; it’s tough, it has been hard.”

Every step is important. They may be difficult, but each one has a purpose.

“We want everyone to remember these families,” Hughes said.

Hughes made the trek to remember the steps his fellow first responders will never take again.

Each day walking for someone lost on duty.

Grant Jansen with the St. Charles Police Department, Blake Synder with the St. Louis County Police Department, Molly Bowden with the Columbia Police Department, James Bava with the Missouri Highway Patrol, Bruce Brit with the Columbia Fire Department, Gary Michael and Christopher Morton with the Clinton Police Department, Terry Foster with the Independence Police Department, Harold Hollingsworth with the Fort Osage Fire Protection District, and Larry Leggio and John Mesh with the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department each had a day of travel that Officer Hughes carried a flag for them.

“It would have been easy just to hang my head but I made a promise to these families and to this community that we were going to do this,” Officer Hughes said.

Nine days, 260 miles, and over half a million steps. FOX4 walked a few with him on March 30.

“We knew it was going to be life-changing but this exceeded our expectations,” Hughes said.

His final steps, however, are for Independence Officer Tom Wagstaff who is bound to a wheelchair and cannot take them himself.

“It will be emotional, seeing Tom Wagstaff throw out that first pitch. That’s closure for a lot of people,” Hughes said.

Just over one year ago, Wagstaff was shot in the head during a burglary call.

This day is a milestone on the mound for Officer Wagstaff, as he throws out the first pitch at Kauffman Stadium for the Royals.

“I’m very humbled and grateful to be able to do this,” Wagstaff said.

Officer Hughes closes out his walk across the state by handing off the ball to his longtime friend

“It signifies how far he’s come, and the miracles that happen, and his willpower to get stronger and better every day,” Officer Hughes said.

“He’s like a brother to me. It will be amazing. It will be amazing. I wouldn’t want anyone else to pass me the ball,” Officer Wagstaff said.

When Officer Wagstaff found out he was throwing the first pitch, his physical therapist incorporated it to his exercise to prepare for the big day.

Officer Hughes ran across the state for the non-profit Answering the Call that helps families of first responders in their time of need.

If you would like to know more or find out how you can help, visit their Facebook page here.