COLORADO SPRINGS — We'd like to thank everyone who made this year's Border to Border ride possible and helped us reach our goal to equip Black Forest Fire and Rescue.
"We did it. I can't thank everybody enough. Whether you are an individual, a business, a church, a foundation, everybody rallied. For all of our first responders out there, I hope that is encouraging to you to know a community-wide effort is rallying around them to get this done," says SHIELD616 founder Jake Skifstad.
Thanks to you, KOAA News5's virtual telethon raised $48,500, enough to equip each member of Black Forest Fire and Rescue with their own set of protective equipment.
The total donated during the Border to Border ride event is $150,000!
This is the second year KOAA has teamed up with SHIELD616 on the Border to Border ride. Our own News5 Today's Ira Cronin put in the miles to train for this grueling ride from the Wyoming border to the New Mexico border. The rewards of worth it, knowing you are doing your part to help our local first responders.
The stop in Steamboat Springs to present full protective kits to the police department helps drive you to do more for the community.
Watch the full recap of this year's SHIELD616 Border to Border Ride below:
SHIELD616 Founder and President Jake Skifstad, a former Colorado Springs Police officer, knows the most difficult challenges of being a first responder. Jake says, “We as law enforcement, we are expected to protect you from whatever threat there may be. If it involves a rifle, we don't have protection against that.”
In December of 2007, as a member of CSPD, Jake Skifstad says he clearly remembers the call of an active shooter at New Life Church. “You always think worst-case scenario. It's a call that you don't want to see and you know you have to get in there and do your job as fast as you can to help prevent any more casualties. It's just something that you will stick with you for the rest of your life if you have to experience it.”
Fast forward to November of 2015 when as a member of the CSPD Swat Team on Black Friday, his pager went off for an active shooter situation, the second in two months. “When I got that page I just remember reading it and thinking, ‘You've got to be kidding me, not again.’ It was one of the worst days of my career. When you strip away that uniform, the person behind that badge is a human being just like everybody else. We just train ourselves to go against the human nature of fleeing from danger, to turn around and run towards danger.”
SHIELD616 began with a focus on law enforcement in southern Colorado. “When we started SHIELD616 we were focusing right here in Colorado Springs on my brothers and sisters in blue and I wanted to make sure that they had the best gear available to them.”
The efforts grew to include firefighters and paramedics. Jake says, “We have had a couple of very close calls for the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Thankfully, no firefighters were hit, but they were extremely close to being hit, and they were absolutely in the hot zone. We want to make sure that they're also protected.”
To learn more about how SHIELD616 has helped our first responders, see the stories throughout the years as they've used your donations for this noble cause.