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Residents run, ride to raise money for wounded deputy
Hall County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Groover hugs fellow deputy Stephen Wilbanks at the 5K Fun Run & Bike Ride for Deputy Joe Groover fundraising event held Saturday at Blackshear Place Baptist Church. - photo by Tom Reed

Hall County police officers and community members gathered early Saturday morning at Blackshear Place Baptist Church for the 5K Fun Run & Bike Ride for Deputy Joe Groover.

The money raised goes to help Groover, who was shot in the Aug. 11 standoff in Lula in which the suspect was shot dead.

The bike ride started at 8 a.m. while the run started at 9 a.m.

Both events took place on the campus of Blackshear Place Baptist Church off Atlanta Highway in Oakwood.

"This is to help him with financial needs in the long run," said Kelley Edwards, an organizer of the event and a sergeant with the sheriff's office.

There was also a run for kids that took place in the morning.

Many men, women and even some youth took part in the run to show their support for Groover.

"It's been a success," Edwards said.

Among the participants were some officers who have worked with Groover.

One such person was sheriff's Lt. Brad Rounds.

"Joe worked with me for a while," Rounds said. "I enjoy just seeing the community come out in support of one of (our) family members who was hurt in the line of duty."

Other participants were community members who know Groover and his family.

"We know Joe and his family," said Amy Casper of Flowery Branch. "We want to support and encourage him and be here for him."

There also were participants who just came out from the community to support the Groover family.

"I go to church here," said Andy Ball of Gainesville. "I want to support Deputy Joe."

Among all of the participants there was an atmosphere of love and support for Groover.

Edwards said he was looking forward to "everybody having a good time and staying safe."