While serving on the Hamilton County Grand Jury throughout the Summer, I had the privilege of hearing from a large number of our law enforcement officials regarding what they have to deal with on a daily basis as they are charged with protecting and serving our community. I walked into that jury room for the very first time with great respect for our police officers. I walked out for the last time with that respect and admiration having grown exponentially.
There was one officer who stood out in particular to me because, after completing his testimony to us, he mentioned that he was training for the Chattanooga Ironman competition this year on September 27. What was really remarkable about Hamilton County Deputy Robert Starnes was that he told us he had previously weighed in at 425lbs! Now, he’s getting ready to run the Ironman, a race I can’t imagine even considering.
In 2008, Deputy Starnes lost his daughter to a brain aneurysm. Shortly before her death, she expressed her concern about his health and asked him to begin taking better care of himself. Soon after her passing, he began his journey to keep the promise he had made to her that he would lose weight and get healthy and now, seven years and a few hundred pounds later, Deputy Starnes is going, as he puts it, “from fat man to iron man,” raise money to fight childhood cancer, to highlight organ donations, and to honor fallen law enforcement officials.
A week or so ago, I bumped into Deputy Starnes at a local coffee shop and introduced myself formally to him. I had the chance to chat with him a bit more in-depth about this monumental feat he is about to take on in just a couple of weeks. I was impressed by his determination to fulfill his promise to his daughter, who he clearly loved deeply and by his obvious commitment to successfully complete this leg of his journey and finish the entire iron man course. Though almost embarrassed to ask for financial support, Officer Starnes resolves to do so anyway because he makes clear that it’s not about him, “it’s for the kids.”
I hope you will consider supporting Deputy Starnes in his quest for “iron”. Click the “Emily’s Power” icon to the right and you will be taken to his support page where you can help take him over his goal of $3000.
Thank you to Deputy Starnes and all the Law Enforcement Officers who lay it on the line every day. We appreciate you!