Sam Brownlee was a deputy sheriff in Weld County, Colorado until five years ago, when he was killed in the line of duty. Recently the department decided to retire the 2010 Dodge Charger he always used. It's worth about $12,500, and income from the sale would directly benefit COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors), a group that supports families of slain police officers.
Brownlee's oldest son, Tanner, was 15 when his Dad died. Now 20, he hoped to buy the car as a way for him and his younger brother to stay connected with their Dad. He didn't have much money, but he started a GoFundMe page for the car and went to the auction anyway. "Realizing how much this car meant to (my Dad), I understand it now and I want to keep that and hold on to it," he told KSDK-TV.
Because folks in Weld County strongly support the families of fallen officers, bids quickly exceeded the car's value. After bidding all he had, Tanner was far outbid by a rancher who wishes to remain anonymous. The rancher won the car with a bid of $60,000, but when the sheriff gave him the keys, the rancher walked over to deputy Brownlee's son, placed the keys in his hand, and said, "Tanner, here's your car." Tanner was so surprised that he cried. The rancher hugged him, and everyone else in the room applauded. Somewhere in heaven, deputy Brownlee applauded too.