JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A fundraiser held Saturday evening to benefit two Jacksonville police officers injured on the job in January raised $8,000.
Officer Chris Rouselle was in a car crash during a chase and had to have a neck infusion surgery and elbow surgery. Sgt. Joshua Wiggins was also involved in that accident when attempting to stop someone who robbed a store and kidnapped an elderly man. He was deliberately hit by a vehicle and suffered severe right leg injuries while laying down stop sticks.
Both suffered severe injuries that required long hospital stays and rehabilitation but were thrilled at how many people turned out to support them at the fundraiser.
'It's a blessing for everyone to come together the way that they are... people I've never met before. Police officers, veterans, friends of friends, a family of friends," Rouselle said. "One of the main things is being a police officer, you put yourself into a situation you wouldn't normally put yourself into. I know for myself and Sgt. Wiggins, we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Because that's what we do as police officers. That's what we're here for."
Wiggins said the fundraiser was important to him and Rouselle. "It means a lot ... being at home, being out of work, we don't get a lot of camaraderie. I don't go out much, so coming to something like this and seeing people who care, people I love and people I don't even know that care... it means the world. It's a godsend," Wiggins said.
He said the money raised will help him deal with the setback of his injuries.
"It's to help us out financially. I think everyone knows with officers, you get a lot of off-duty opportunities. But in situations like what we have... me and Officer Rouselle, I can't do that. So it helps us, it helps my kids, it helps my wife and it helps us pay the bills a little bit," Wiggins said.
He also thanked firefighters and first responders for the great work they do every day to save lives.