In 2010, Sam Brownlee of Colorado’s Weld County Sheriff’s Office was killed in the line of duty during a police chase. Five years following his death, his former patrol vehicle, a Dodge Charger with over 147,000 miles on it, went up for auction to raise funds for Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), an organization that provides assistance to the survivors of law enforcement officers who are killed in the line of duty. Two of the attendees hoping to drive away in Brownlee’s vehicle were his sons, Tanner and Chase.
Knowing that the Kelly Blue Book value of the car was $12,500, the Brownlees set up a GoFundMe page to help them buy the item the Weld County Sheriff, Steve Reams, called “the last tangible thing we have that [Sam Brownlee] was connected to.” The fundraising website helped the young men collect approximately $3,000, ultimately leaving them with around $50,000 to use toward a bid.
Unfortunately for the sons of Brownlee, they were outbid by a rancher, who won the vehicle for $62,000. Tanner Brownlee fought back tears as he watched the unknown bidder accept the keys to the car; but then, the unexpected happened. The rancher approached him and changed his life with just four words: “Tanner, here’s your car.”
Tanner Brownlee shared that he would donate the money he collected on the GoFundMe page to C.O.P.S., ensuring that other families of fallen officers are taken care of the way he has been.