HATTIESBURG, MS - A U.S. Marine veteran from Long Island is running across the nation to show support for police officers.
Billy Richards made his 19th stop at the Hattiesburg Police Department to honor fallen officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate.
Richards started his three-mile run Monday afternoon at the police department with a flag in his hand and his heart with the police officers.
"It's one of those things where I set myself up to do a task and I'm going to accomplish," Richards said.
For almost two weeks, Richards has made stops at city police departments in Orlando, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte and other major cities.
"The officers I've given the flag to have been nothing but smiles and it kind of shows that they are people too," Richards said.
During his run, Richards made a stop at Deen and Tate's memorial to pay respects to them.
"I'm speechless, you get a little choked up by it," Richards said.
This was the first police memorial he has been to since he has started his journey, and he said he was very touched.
"Just hearing the story on where his brother was at and where his partner made it over too, it's just heart wrenching," Richards said.
Family member Josh Deen said he was honored to have Richards come to Hattiesburg to run in honor of the fallen officers.
"This isn't just about Hattiesburg, it is about officers everywhere, but Hattiesburg in particular has had a tragedy, definitely not the only ones not going to be the last ones unfortunately," Josh Deen said.
After his run, Richards gave the police department the flag he was carrying and a card showing appreciation to the law enforcement community.
Richards plans on traveling to Baton Rouge and Dallas next on his journey to honor more fallen officers.
"I think its important that the community knows that the police are the good guys, they are the people responsible for protecting us on the home front," Richards said.
If you want to send Richards a donation to help pay for gas or for living arrangements during his trip, you can visit his GoFundMe page.