For a good hour, they worked up a sweat, breaking into high-intensity routines full of lunges, squats, push-ups and crunches.
For the dozens of police officers and other first responders who gathered Saturday in a Timonium fitness center, it was one of the best ways they knew, many said, to honor slain officer Amy S. Caprio, getting fit and building camaraderie while donating to a scholarship fund in Caprio’s name.
A Baltimore County police officer for almost four years, Caprio was hit by a vehicle and killed while responding to a burglary call in Perry Hall in May. Four teenagers have been indicted on murder charges in her death.
Staying fit and healthy is key in countering the stress and dangers law enforcement officers face, said Marshall Wieder, a Montgomery County police officer who also runs Blue Line Strength Training, an organizer of Saturday’s event with sports facility Sweat Performance.
“It’s a physical job. … You’ve really got to make sure you’re on top of your game,” said Wieder, who offers fitness coaching for police officers. “There’s a big need for it in law enforcement. Stress wears people down.”
The “Fallen Heroes Workout” drew about 140 people, most in law enforcement, from all over the state and surrounding states and as far as New York and New Jersey.
It didn’t matter that many had never worked with or even met Caprio.
“A couple of the police officers actually contacted me asking if i wanted to come to this, and I wasn’t too excited — I just hate working out,” said Makayla Raby, a crime scene investigator for the Annapolis Police Department, as she stretched before the workout. But she said she wanted to be part of an effort to benefit and remember fallen officers.
“It’s for a good cause,” she said. “Giving back and being able to help out in any way that I can is really important.”
The event raised more than $2,500 for the Amy Sorrells Caprio Scholarship Endowment at Towson University through donations and T-shirt sales even before the start of the workout. More was expected through additional donations and raffle sales. The scholarship is open to first responders and their immediate families. Both Caprio and her husband, Tim, were Towson University graduates.
Mike Counihan, a police officer from New York City, asked the crowd before the workout how many of the police officers had ever been in a position of “fighting for your life.” Several raised their hands.
“When you guys are out there, and you’re doing this workout, and you want to puke, you want to cry, you want to just quit, Amy’s not here to have that luxury of working hard,” he said. “Keep that in your mind.”
Caprio’s mother, Debbie Sorrells, thanked Saturday’s participants and reminded them to “take care of your bodies and to stay well and healthy and in the best shape possible. ... It’s to the benefit of everybody.”
“Putting on her uniform really personified the being that we know, the real person,” Sorrells said of her daughter.
Tracy Anderson, a Baltimore City firefighter who brought her 16-year-old daughter as a workout partner, said she often works alongside Baltimore County law enforcement and was familiar with Caprio.
“So we came here to honor her and raise some money,” Anderson said. “And it’s a good workout.”
A Fallen Heroes fundraiser seemed like a perfect fit for Sweat Performance, which offers athletic training for student athletes, said Max Hostetler, head of business and brand relations.
“We’re all tied to law enforcement in some way,” Hostetler said. “We want to be that catalyst that builds the community back up in Baltimore.”