Last October, Edward Ignacio returned from Kona after successfully competing in the Ironman World Championship. Through his efforts, he was able to raise more than $10,000 for Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation (HLEMF).
Ignacio is no stranger to law enforcement — he spent seven years as a police officer and another 15 working for the FBI.
HLEMF was formed in 2010, and two years later obtained funds and land to begin construction of the memorial to honor fallen law enforcement officers. A groundbreaking ceremony was held, but because of the government shutdown, funds were lost. A total of $300,000 is needed to begin construction again.
“I wanted to do something to help,” says the Hawaii island native, who now resides in Ewa Beach.
Ignacio became a beacon and drew attention to his cause without having to say anything. He decided to show up at races in his law enforcement gear.
The climax of last year’s races was the Ironman World Championships, in which elite athletes from all over the world compete. Being invited is no easy feat, but Ignacio was able to secure a slot via the Hawaii state lottery.
“Since I was a kid I watched the race,” Ignacio says of the championships. “My father was a police officer and he worked and directed traffic for the races.”
If getting a slot to compete was hard, the race itself proved to be even tougher.
“There was a storm surge coming in during the swim, and it made the water really rough,” he explains. “There were high winds on the bike course. Guys were literally getting blown off their bikes into the grass. We fought headwinds in both directions.”
And, yes, Ignacio competed in his law enforcement gear (ballistic vest, helmet and battle dress uniform) for the running portion of the race.
The Iron World Championships is broadcast all over the world (up to 60 countries), making it the perfect platform to highlight the needs of HLEMF and its mission to honor fallen officers.
This coming year, Ignacio plans to continue to raise funds for HLEMF. “I am going to continue racing throughout the year, and I may be putting together a team of police officers, who will be running in different races as a group to raise donations and awareness of the foundation.”
For more information or to give, visit hlemf.org.