MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds of people were in Bay View Park Sunday afternoon to honor the lives of two Milwaukee Police Officers who died this year in a unique way.
Crossfitters came to the park to do workouts in honor of Officer Charles Irvine Jr. and Officer Michael Michalski. The two police officers were killed in the line of duty within the last two months. The Hero Workouts of the Day, known as WODs, were specially designed with the two men in mind.
"We programed the Irvine with his badge number, 2353," Sgt. Tom Ackley, Milwaukee Police Officer and Organizer of the event said.
"We have 23 of something, 53 of something and you run some more. Then, 23 of something, 53 of something. Mike's was 3014. So we're doing 30 of something, 14 of something and four rounds," he continued.
The workouts were difficult. The Irvine consisted of a 400-meter run, 23 pushups, 53 goblet squads, another 400-meter run, 23 pushups, 53 kettlebell swings and another 400 meters run without stopping. The Michalski was four rounds of 30 lunges and 14 burpees and a grueling 400 meter run after all of that. With 80 degree temperatures, it made the workout even more difficult but there was no chance anyone wouldn't finish.
"When it's difficult for you to push through a workout, you feel like you want to quit but you have to realize, you're here honoring that fallen individual," Kris Baxter, a participant said. "They do so much for the community. To be able to honor the two that have fallen is a privilege."
"It's all about the community rallying together and supporting our blue line," Andrea Raykovich, another participant said. "I'm just thinking, not about the two officers, but all the officers involved. They're putting their lives up for us. They're risking their lives. They're risking their family, their friends. Whatever I can do to support them."
"It's important because we lost two of our brothers in blue," Lt. David Feldmeier with the Milwaukee Police Department said.
Feldemeier participated alongside the other members of the community Sunday. He was there to support the police department and the two officers but also, felt the support as an officer himself.
"In a community of over 600,000, I believe that most, if not all to some degree, feel the same way," Feldmeier said. "We put ourselves between danger in the community every day and sometimes, we take it for granted when something bad doesn't happen. This kind of hit home how dangerous it was and it hit home for us. Hit home for the community. It's impressive to see our law enforcement brothers and those in the community, not in law enforcement to support us and let us know we're all in this together."
Feldemeier, who is training for his fourth Ironman race, is in fantastic physical shape. However, even he was breathing hard and pouring sweat -- but finished strong for his fallen brothers.
"They made the ultimate sacrifice," Feldemeier said. "I think it's in all of us to be able to dig deep and find their spirit and use that to kind of motivate us to continue on. Their families are hurting, their friends are hurting and it's up to us to carry on the torch and continue what they tried to do for us."
All of the proceeds from the event went to support memorials created in the fallen officer's names.