CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Every time a first responder reports for duty, U.S. military servicemember Adam Berry, understands the risk taken.
“This isn't just a sacrifice for the men and women in uniform. It's their family making sacrifices too," he said. “When they leave that home, there's a lot of stress and anxiety that's left back on those families.”
Berry runs the nonprofit Chesterfield Gives Back which supports local law enforcement members and their loved ones through, what he called, a dangerous job.
“These first responders are out there every single day putting their life on the line," he said.
Berry explained the organization came to be in 2019 when the culture surrounding law enforcement began to shift across the country.
As a member of the military, Berry said he has never felt unappreciated for his service. However, he believes police officers and deputies don't always receive the same respect.
"I've gone on my deployments, I've been in those dangerous situations, but these first responders are out there every single day," Berry said. "We should thank them more."
Recently, Berry said his mission has been hitting close to home following the death of 24-year-old Henrico Police Officer Trey Sutton. The rookie officer was killed in a crash while on duty last week.
“It's just drastic," Berry said. "It's heartbreaking.”
The tragedy happened during a pivotal time in Sutton's life. He had just graduated from the police academy in February and was preparing to marry his fiancée, Zoe Pierson, in June.
Berry said he had the pleasure of working with Pierson last year as he was organizing a First Responder Appreciate Day event complete with live music, food, drinks and family-friendly activities. He explained Pierson played a critical role in the planning.
“Without her, we probably couldn't have made it happen," Berry said. “She was a huge supporter of not only the man that she loved, but the whole first responder community.”
To support Pierson and Sutton's family as they grieve, Chesterfield Gives Back has been collecting donations for them. So far, the organization has raised nearly $1,500.
“Losing somebody like that, that you're about to start the rest of your life with, she has some tremendous obstacles ahead of her," Berry said. "We're going to make sure that money is put in a place that it's best utilized."
Anyone who would like to contribute can do so by going to the nonprofit's Facebook page.
Berry said the incident magnifies how dangerous first responders' jobs can be and encouraged others to keep the law enforcement community in their thoughts.
“We need to learn to appreciate them more, thank them more often, and thank their families," he said.