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Event at Chick-fil-A featuring costumed characters raises funds for family of fallen officer

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Posted at 9:52 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 23:52:42-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The community sent a message to Officer Doug Barney's family Friday night, by coming together to raise money for the family in an unusual way.

Dozens of people packed Chick-fil-A for a fun, bustling evening to hang out with characters and mascots, take pictures and eat dinner.

But the underlying theme was one of sadness.

"I just think it's important to be here, to let them know that if they ever need anything: That we're here," said Danelle Cox, about the Barney family.

Officer Barney was killed in the line of duty on January 17.

His death has been felt by so many, including employees at the Taylorsville Chick-fil-A.

"Officer Barney had served in Taylorsville, and had worked out here," said owner Andrew Allman. "A lot of our employees actually worked with him at one of the schools. We just wanted a way to give back."

So they gave back by organizing the fundraiser, where a portion of the day's sales went to the Officer Doug Barney Memorial Fund, to help the family.

They also brought in an element of fun, to create an uplifting atmosphere.

Police and fire mascots even got in on the action, playing up a friendly rivalry. Kids pretended to sword fight, and got to meet their favorite characters.

"We have all sorts of heroes here," Allman said. "We have Darth Vader, we have some storm troopers, all here representing and supporting Officer Barney."

Supporting the true hero of the evening--Doug Barney, as well as all law enforcement who serve the community.

"These men and women, they give their lives every day to keep us safe," Allman said. "So we wanted a way to just say thank you."

While the Barney family could not make it to the fundraiser, Lt. Lex Bell with Unified Police Department said the family is eternally grateful for the support, and that Doug Barney's wife, Erica, has been amazed by how people have been jumping in to help, just like they did with the fundraiser Friday night.