BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) - This weekend, the University Bookstore helped to strengthen community - police relations while honoring a fallen Virginia Tech officer. Each year, an annual memorial 5k race is held to honor Officer Deriek Crouse who died in the line of the duty back in December 2011.
Dozens of runners laced up their shoes on Virginia Tech's campus for the race. From young to seasoned, the participants said they were glad to be running for a purpose.
"It's great, I mean it's nice to see these community 5-k''s happen anyway but especially for Officer Crouse, " said Anderson Norton,runner.
Organizers at University Bookstore said about 175 people registered for the race and four police departments including Virginia Tech police have participated. Crouse's family members said they're glad to see the community's support.
"It is very heartwarming to come here and see the support and the honor that is given to our family member," said Anne Didio, Deriek Crouse aunt.
Didio said she was devastated to learn Crouse was murdered in December 2011 during a routine traffic stop on Virginia Tech's campus. She said she misses Deriek's outgoing personality.
"He really was such a jovial guy, he was the type of personality that always brighten the room", she said.
Virginia Tech Police Chief Kevin Foust also participated in the run. He said he was glad the Hokie Nation came together to honor the fallen officer.
"Hokie Nation came out on the drillfield and pulled together as one and supported me and my department and we are eternally grateful," said Foust.
Crouse's family is hoping for peace for other officers who are currently serving.
"I want them to know they are in my heart, I do know they are wonderful people," said Didio.