San Diego, California - Since 2010, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteer Pam Medhurst has participated in the Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K in honor of the 17-year-old Poway girl who was brutally attacked and killed while running in Rancho Bernardo Community Park. This year is no exception; she and other Sheriff’s team members will be part of the fourth annual run/walk on Saturday, March 1 in Balboa Park.
Medhurst served as the department’s liaison to the King family in 2010, as searchers combed the park and surrounding area where Chelsea’s body was later recovered. She says knowing what was going on in the search and understanding why searchers were in certain areas helped the Kings through the ordeal.
“We got to know the family and it just means a lot to all of Search and Rescue to have a positive vibe about the run and to have the family see us,” Medhurst says. “Kelly King always hugs me. It’s just become a real special friendship.”
The Search and Rescue members still feel like part of the Kings’ extended family, Medhurst says. Sheriff Bill Gore always attends the run as well, she notes.
In previous years, Medhurst says she coordinated a Sheriff’s running team for the event, but it started getting too big and complicated to manage. So this year, everyone is just running on their own.
You may still notice the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team members because they wear their goldenrod work shirts and usually run with their search dogs, she says.
“I run with Wishbone, he loves running,” Medhurst says of one of her five beagle dogs, all of which are trained search dogs with the Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff’s Search and Rescue also always sets up a booth at the run where people can meet volunteers and their dogs and learn about the program, if they are interested.
Medhurst says the King family has always gone out of their way to be kind to people who go out in support of their daughter.
“The Kings, Brent and Tyler and Kelly, stand at the finish line and wait for every single person to finish,” Medhurst says. “It’s family friendly and it’s just a very positive day, you go away feeling good.”
The now annual Finish Chelsea’s run/walk is the primary fundraiser for the Chelsea’s Light Foundation Sunflower Scholarship Fund. The money raised is used to award scholarships to San Diego County college-bound teens who have embraced characteristics that the foundation says embody Chelsea’s academic prowess and service-over-self ethic. Last year’s run/walk funded $70,000 in Sunflower Scholarships to 10 students and contributed to the foundation’s efforts to expand Chelsea’s Law.