Dakota Ridge sophomore organizes fund-raiser for police

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By Deborah Swearingen

Sagan Lang grew up with an appreciation for police officers and the work they do.

That’s why the 15-year-old Dakota Ridge High School student felt compelled to do something when within a month officers from Douglas and Adam counties were killed while on duty.

“I’ve always been involved with the sheriffs and officers in our community,” Lang said. “(And) I’ve always been really passionate about serving and protecting my country.”

On Monday evening, Lang and about eight other Dakota Ridge students hosted a fund-raiser at the Flying Pig Burger Co. in Littleton. Proceeds from the event went to the Colorado Police Officers Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose overall purpose is to generate funds and foster community-wide support for law enforcement, particularly traumatically injured officers and their families, and those killed in the line of duty.

The South Jeffco burger joint is a favorite for Lang and his friends at Dakota Ridge. It’s their restaurant of choice for a meal after final exams, so it seemed like an obvious choice to host the fund-raiser. The students volunteered their time, coordinating a silent auction, busing tables, serving drinks and helping staff at the Flying Pig.

A lot of Lang’s appreciation for the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies comes from his mother, Casey Herzfeld, who is from a military family.

“When everything was kind of negative in the media, we spent a year of our life supporting our local substation,” Herzfeld said of the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office South Precinct. “Every Thursday we went down, and we brought goodies.”

Efforts like that do not go unnoticed by the Sheriff’s Office.

“We appreciate anything that the citizens do to support law enforcement and certainly to support law enforcement at this particular time when there have been so many recent tragedies,” said Jenny Fulton, spokeswoman with the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office.

“For a student to take the initiative to raise money to help law enforcement, it’s exceptional,” she added. “ … This particular family does a lot for us.”

Lang and Herzfeld — both wearing black T-shirts with a thin blue line — were thrilled to see the Flying Pig bustling with diners on Monday evening. Lang and his classmates spent time chatting with customers to spread the word about the fund-raiser.

Although some were unaware of the fund-raiser, many were excited to hear about the opportunity to give back.

“As soon as I started talking with them, they immediately said, ‘Oh, maybe we ought to order some more appetizers,’” Lang said.

While the event was underway, another deputy from El Paso County was killed in the line of duty. Being able to show support for those who sacrifice means the world for Lang, who said his main goal is “just being here to support the officers that protect us each and every day and give back to our country and our community.”

The total amount of money raised at the event is still unknown. All proceeds — totaling $940 — from the silent auction went to the Colorado Police Officers Foundation. According to Herzfeld, the Flying Pig committed to donating at least 10 to 15 percent of its proceeds to the foundation with the potential for more depending on the evening’s success.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.