By Steph McNicol
KILMORE police officer Lee Bova has been recognised for her ‘exceptional leadership and compassion’ after she participated in the Run4Blue event earlier this year.
Leading Senior Constable Bova took part in Run4Blue, which gives officers a chance to run, walk, or wheel a distance of their choice to support fallen police officers, in rememberance of four officers killed in an Eastern Freeway collision in April.
Sen Const Bova, and other police officers, decided to run 159.485 kilometres, which was a combination of the resigstered numbers belonging to the members killed in the crash.
For her efforts completing the running challenge in one month, Sen Const Bova was awarded a letter of recognition by Assistant Commissioner for Eastern Region Glenn Weir earlier this month.
“On April 22, 2020, my policing family suffered the loss of four of our members…the shock, grief and despair that ricocheted through the entire community was unlike anything I have experienced in my 20 years of policing,” Sen Const Bova said.
“I still remember the moment I saw Charlotte Peak’s post on the Victoria Police Facebook Memoriam page about the 159.485 km tribute run as part of May’s Run4Blue virtual event.
“It was April 26 – four days after the tragedy and one day after the despicable actions of the Porsche driver had been made public. I was so sickened by what I had heard that I could barely breathe, and I felt completely lost, hopeless and powerless to help.
“I was looking through the posts… seeking comfort from the endless messages of support being posted. The very next post was Charlotte’s; she was inviting people to sign up for Run 4 Blue and pledge to run 159.485km in May.
“It felt as if the sun had suddenly come out from behind the clouds – I had found a purpose.”
Sen Const Bova said she knew right away she would run the distance of each member’s registered number, each on individual days.
“It was a huge task. I wasn’t even sure my body could run those distances in the space of a month. But I also knew the physical pain of running such long distances was incomparable to the pain endured by the family and friends of Lyn, Glen, Kevin and Josh,” she said.
“I had never fundraised for a charity before – so I set what I believed to be an achievable goal of $700, quietly hoping I might reach $1000.
“I created my fundraising page, posted a link on Facebook, donated $159 to kickstart the fundraising tally and went to bed.
“The next morning, I checked my fundraising page and was blown away to see that I had doubled my fundraising goal literally overnight. I realised then that I had embarked on something truly special.
“For the rest of the month, my wonderful community of friends, family, friends of friends and even complete strangers showed through their endless donations that they had so much love, respect and shared grief for my policing family.”
On May 3, Sen Const Bova ran 27.417km for Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor along the Great Victorian Rail Trail, a return trip from Tallarook to Trawool; on May 10, she ran 40.942km for Senior Constable Kevin King around Hidden Valley and to Kilmore Police Station and back; on May 17, she ran 45.688km for Constable Glen Humphris from Axedale Police Station to Bendigo and back on the O’Keefe Rail Trail; and on May 24, she completed the final run of 45.438km for Constable Josh Prestney.
“I was surrounded by friends, family and fellow runners as we ran loops of Hidden Valley – my own beautiful neighbourhood where I had begun my journey towards enduring, tolerating and finally loving running eight years ago,” Sen Const Bova said.
“On May 31, I joined in the final leg of the 159.485km relay team which carried four batons, one for each member, past their respective police stations and the crash site, and ended at the police memorial on St Kilda Road.
“It was there that we presented Police Legacy with a cheque for the donations we had raised throughout the month of May – an incredible $375,000 to go directly towards the families affected by this tragedy.
“That I was able to personally raise and contribute almost $12,000 towards this final amount was beyond incredible and will lift my spirits for many years to come.
“I am proud of my body, my legs and my mind for digging deep and completing those runs in honour of Lyn, Glen, Kevin and Josh.”