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Houghton Lake Post Trooper Honors 53 Fallen MSP Members During Police Week 2020
May 15, 2020
Tpr. Cabria Shirley purchased 53 small American flags, each adorned with the Thin Blue Line, and carefully added the names of the Michigan State Police's fallen - 53 who have given their lives in the line of duty.
Then she started covering ground, first with her feet and next with a flag.
"After each mile, I placed a flag along the track to memorialize one of our fallen," said Trooper Shirley, assigned to the Houghton Lake Post. "I circled the Lake City High School track 212 times, running and walking, not allowing myself to quit."
She covered 53 miles in under 23 hours. One mile for each fallen trooper.
The two-year veteran knew she wanted to do something, maybe a fundraiser run, during Police Week 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, so did her plans. She initially kept them quiet because she didn't want to draw attention to herself.
"Someone snitched," she said. "My MSP family made sure someone was with me every step of the way."
That included her classmates and commander from the 133rd Trooper Recruit School, troopers from the Houghton Lake and Cadillac posts and even her post commander, F/Lt. Travis House, who ran three miles with her.
Trooper Shirley started at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 13, and completed mile 53 at about 6:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 14. When she needed a boost, she repeated the names of every fallen trooper in her head, reserving the last mile for Tpr. Rodger Adams who was killed in a traffic crash exactly 49 years ago - May 14, 1971.
"It was a simple decision," Shirley said. "The fallen members made the ultimate sacrifice. Completing those 53 miles was a small token of my gratitude. I know if given the opportunity, they would have done the same for me."
Prior to this, the longest run Trooper Shirley had logged was 26.2 miles, her first marathon in Grand Rapids last fall. She only started long distance running after recruit school.
"Trooper Shirley has inspired us all," said F/Lieutenant House, commander of the Houghton Lake Post. "Her efforts on the track have honored our fallen members and their families in a special way. Her commitment to this undertaking demonstrates courage and a willingness to sacrifice for others, traits which make her an outstanding trooper and a valuable member of our team."
This year, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the MSP held a virtual memorial service to honor its 53 fallen members.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has directed U.S. and Michigan flags throughout the state of Michigan to remain lowered at half-staff on Friday, May 15, which is Peace Officers Memorial Day, to honor officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.
Flags were previously ordered lowered to half-staff to honor and mourn those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.