POOLER, Ga. (WSAV) – The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire hosted their annual Run for Heroes in Pooler this holiday weekend.

Saturday morning outside of West Chatham Middle School, racers lined up bright and early to run the 1-mile course for a special cause.

“It’s a $250,000 investment every time we have a loss of life in the first responder community,” explained Mark Dana, president of the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire.

The organization steps in to provide the surviving family with emotional and financial support.

“We also provide fully paid college education for the surviving family members,” Dana added. “We have seven family members in college right now, one at Yale University.”

The Run for Heroes featured four separate races, including the Memory Walk for the families of fallen heroes and the Heroes Heat for first responders and military members.

“I have family and friends that are close to me that we’ve lost over the years, so my favorite part of this is everybody coming out, running for their person or their department, and just coming together and being able to show the community that we do operate as one, even though we’re with different departments,” said Tyler Carlson, an advanced firefighter with the Savannah Fire Department.

Event organizers said this race not only honors the first responders that we’ve lost but provides resources for families in the community that may have gone through similar experiences.

“We always look at the first responders in uniform and want to thank them for their heroic sacrifice, which we should do,” Dana said, adding, “we also need to keep the families in mind because when they say goodbye to their family members as they go off to their job, they may never see them again and there’s a lot of anxiety behind that.”

So far, the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire has provided nearly $4 million for the families that have lost loved ones working in the line of duty.

All of the proceeds made from Saturday’s Run for Heroes will be put towards that same cause.