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Greg Pierzchala Memorial Run returns to Barrie, hundreds attend

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Family, friends, colleagues and strangers set off on a fundraising run on Saturday, marked by the memory of a man killed in the line of duty.

Hundreds gathered along Barrie's waterfront to honour OPP officer Greg Pierzchala.

"It really speaks volumes about the kind of person Greg was and the kind of impact he had on the community," said Justyna Pierzchala, sister of Greg Pierzchala.

The 28-year-old from Barrie was a rising rookie with a passion for policing and helping his community when his life was tragically taken in December of 2022.

Pierzchala was shot and killed while responding to a call about a car in a ditch in Hagersville, Ontario.

"It was a tough loss on our family, but when we see this police presence here, it shows us that he was also part of their family, and so when they come here to offer support, it just really means a lot, and we genuinely appreciate it," said Pierzchala.

Now in its second year, the memorial run raises money for a local parish and a high school scholarship created in honour of Greg's life and legacy.

"The run helps to fill the void that is in so many hearts following Greg's death, and his legacy continues and grows stronger every year thanks to the community that has wrapped its arms around the Pierzchala family," Thomas Carrique, OPP Commissioner.

As the community honoured the life of Pierzchala, the event was held on the one year anniversary of the death of OPP officer Eric Mueller who was killed in the line of duty on May 11, 2023.

The event also marking a sombre reminder of the dangers and sacrifices officers face each day on the job.

"We have had so many tragedies in the past and remembering Greg and remembering Eric and so many officers who we have lost lives in years past is so important, remembering them on the wall of honour but also in the communities they served," said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the OPP's highway safety division.

The Greg Pierzchala memorial run raised more than $19,000 in 2023, while a total raised for the 2024 event has yet to be released.

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