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Fun run for wounded Hall deputy on Saturday

POSTED: October 7, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Colleagues of a Hall County deputy who was seriously wounded in the line of duty are expected to be among those who turn out for Saturday’s 5K "fun run and bike ride" fundraiser in his honor.

The run for Deputy Joe Groover will start at Oakwood’s Blackshear Place Baptist Church at 9 a.m. The bike ride, with distance options of 28, 50 or 68 miles, starts an hour earlier.

Groover, a member of the Hall County Sheriff’s SWAT Team, sustained a gunshot wound to the arm and underwent several surgeries following an August standoff with an armed suspect in Lula. Officials said a .44 magnum bullet pierced his right forearm, shattering the bone, before it entered his upper arm.

Groover has returned to work at the sheriff’s office on light duty, working three half-days a week assisting in the training division, Col. Jeff Strickland said.

Groover is the sole breadwinner for his family, which includes four young boys, and worked some extra jobs before the shooting, Strickland said. While insurance has covered most medical expenses, the family income has dropped since the incident, Strickland said.

A number of citizens have come forward with contributions for Groover’s family.

"The community’s been very supportive of him, both financially and emotionally," Strickland said. "He wants to thank everyone for everything they’ve done for him."

Strickland said Groover continues to undergo treatment and therapy for his arm injuries, and the long-term prognosis is not known.

The South Hall Rotary Club organized this Saturday’s fundraiser, with major sponsorships provided by Hayes Automotive, Wachovia Securities, Curt’s restaurant of Oakwood and the Animal Hospital of North Gwinnett.

Event organizer Chad Hayes said while he’ll have to wait until Saturday to see what kind of turnout the run gets, "it’s already a success."

"We gained a lot of support from a lot of sponsors who want to make sure our officers get taken care of when something happens to them," he said.



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