Family of Mario Herrera plans 5K to help families of fallen first responders

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – August will mark two years since Lincoln Police Investigator Mario Herrera was shot and killed in the line of duty.

But not a day goes by that his wife, Carrie, doesn’t think about him.

“It’s different now than what it was the first year; we’re doing really well,” she said. “But he’s thought of often, he’s in our stories all the time, he’s in our conversations. He’s with us every day.”

The community and a national organization called Tunnel to Towers have helped the Herrera family move forward. Tunnel to Towers paid off the family’s mortgage after Mario died.

“It was huge,” Carrie said. “It was just one more thing that we did not have to worry about, just knowing that you have a home forever, that I never have to leave it if I don’t choose to. I don’t have to worry about it, I don’t have to worry about any payments. I can stay there; it’s safe for the kids. It’s a really good feeling.”

Because of all the support and security that the Herrera family has received, they wanted to find a way to give back.

That’s why Carrie and her siblings are organizing a 5K walk/run on Aug. 27 at Holmes Lake. All the proceeds will go to Tunnel to Towers and other families that have lost someone in the line of duty.

“This money is to help any other family that this, unfortunately, is going to happen to,” Carrie’s sister Melissa Wood said. “We hope and pray that it’s not going to be in Lincoln anytime soon or Omaha or any other part of Nebraska. You just never know.”

The 5K will be almost exactly two years to the day after Mario was shot.

“We wanted something to be able to, you know, something good to happen at a time that’s sad,” Wood said. “It’s a sad memory, and it’s a sad date.”

The event went live in mid-January, and the support has been pouring in since.

The 5K has already raised over $9,000 dollars, and Carrie and her family hope to reach their goal of $25,000 by race day.

Herrera said she still runs into people who have helped her along the way and it feels good to know her family has been taken care of. Now it’s her turn to take care of someone else.

“My hope is to spread the word that this organization exists and that it’s a very good organization, to have people join us, see our family and walk with us,” she said. “There is going to be firefighters out here, police, just a really neat day to bring everyone together for a really, really, really good cause,” Herrera said.

Tunnel to Towers released this statement:

Tunnel to Towers paid off the mortgage on the home of slain Lincoln Police Investigator Luis Mario Herrera through its Fallen First Responder Home Program in December of 2020. Investigator Herrera was a U.S. Army Veteran who spent more than two decades keeping his community safe as a first responder. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation honored his service and sacrifice by ensuring his wife Carrie and their children could stay in their home without this financial burden. Tunnel to Towers believes that when a hero lays down their life in the line of duty, it is our duty to protect the families they leave behind.

If you would like to participate in the 5K, sponsor, or simply donate to the cause, click HERE.

For any questions, email Lincoln@T2T.org or find the organization on Facebook.

If you register within 48 hours of this story airing on Channel 8, you’ll receive $5 off your registration fee with the promotional code KLKN8.

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