GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — A Gloucester 6-year-old had an idea and he is running with it — literally.
Braxton Lee says the news of State Trooper Chad Dermyer's death hit his heart so hard, that he's hoping to run more than 27 miles to raise donations for the fallen Trooper's family.
Lee plans to run nine 5K races for Trooper Dermyer, 37, who was fatally shot in March at a Richmond bus station during a VSP training exercise. He leaves behind a wife and two kids in Gloucester County.
Lee wrote a letter to the Virginia State Police asking if he could donate money to the family of the fallen Trooper. They said, "OK."
"I will run a marathon for his family," said Lee. "I feel very sad for them."
Some could call him a pocket-sized runner. He stands ‘tall' at 3 foot 5 inches and he weighs 45 pounds. However, Braxton is a first grader who has crossed more finish lines than many adults.
"I'm running for someone who got shot," said Lee. "I think that nobody shouldn't have done that. I've seen pictures of him."
He says the photos are pictures of a hero. Trooper Chad Dermyer is a man who Lee has never met, but amazingly enough, he's a stranger who is pushing him to go the extra mile… or 27 miles.
Lee is going the distance to make sure the Dermyer family gets the happiness he says they deserve.
"Somebody shot a policeman and his kids probably miss him. I think that wasn't very nice," said Lee.
Lee already has a few medals under his belt, but the medals are not what he is after in all of this. He says the family of Trooper Dermyer is the sole thing that is pushing him toward more finish lines.
"I am running in honor and memory of trooper Chad Dermyer," said Lee. "I think they are very sad right now [and] I think he should still be there for his family."
His mother, Mary Anne Lee, says she is proud of her son.
"What's driving him is that he couldn't imagine being without his father and he can't imagine what these kids are going through and that's what is really motivating him," said Lee.
Lee came about the idea when he was eating at Chik-fil-A with his family. His mother says he saw a donation jar for Trooper Dermyer's family, asked about it and from that moment on, he decided he was going to donate money in his honor.
Lee may have little sneakers, size 12 to be precise, but he has a big goal in mind and he is determined.
In a letter to Virginia State Police he writes: "I will run in his memory. Please donate money for his family. Love, Braxton Lee. Six years-old."
Donations can be sent to: VSPA Emergency Relief Fund, 6944 Forest Hill Ave., Richmond, VA 23225. Write: Trooper Dermyer in the memo line.