INDIANAPOLIS — Sunday marked the 20th Annual Beyond the Badge 5K Run & Walk, which honors the Jason Baker Foundation.
Jason Baker is a former Marion County sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the line of duty. Baker was shot and killed after his patrol car was ambushed in 2001.
“[This event] got started after Jason was killed,” said Jason’s father, Jerry Baker. “A lot of folks just wanted to show their appreciation in some way, and they donated some money to our family to help us out. We thought, ‘Well, we should put that to a good cause.’”
Thus, the Jason Baker Foundation was created. Baker said it provides scholarship assistance to students pursuing a career in public safety.
“We wanted to continue to raise money to find other Jason Bakers,” said Baker. “And so that’s what we did, we created this run. This is our 20th run. It just gets bigger every year.”
Just minutes before races began, Jerry estimated more than 700 Hoosiers had pre-registered for the event, with more registering the day of.
“Through the turnout of folks, through the support of the community and the things that have happened over the last 20 years, we’ve been able to build up [this event] where we can actually educate and fund the education of the next generation of Jason Bakers,” said Jerry.
Jerry said during the event’s first year, his family was able to award one scholarship recipient with $800. Last year, the family was able to award three recipients with $8,000 each.
“This event has a special place in our family’s heart,” said Joshua Shrum, a firefighter with the Pike Township Fire Department and a family friend to the Bakers.
“My father was a sheriff’s deputy who helped train Jason Baker,” said Shrum. “So he was in the family. We knew him. We come out here every single year to show up and show our respects.”
The race course winds through a historic, tree-lined Crown Hill Cemetery and goes past the Heroes of Public Safety Section. Every year, a Honor Guard is posted at the memorial during the entire event.
In the past, Shrum said he ran the course. However, these days he said he would rather take in the beauty with his whole family.
“We bring these carnations, and we’re going to walk, so when we get to all the different gravesites we can place carnations just to show some love and respect to those fallen officers,” said Shrum.
To read more about the Jason Baker Foundation or to make a donation, click here.