ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo., (CBS4) – Two Arapahoe County deputies are back at work after traveling to China to compete in the World Police and Fire Games. They’re sharing their experiences with CBS4 in hopes of encouraging other Colorado first responders to compete in the future.
For Deputies Bill Litwiler and Mateo Montoya-Collis, it’s been a bit of an adjustment getting back to work after days of tough competition Chengdu, China. Both have plenty of stories to tell and souvenirs to give out.READ MORE: Anthony Martinez Arrested For First-Degree Murder In Death Of Roommate Shannon Ziel
Litwiler also has two shiny silver medals to show off.
“Knowing that you represented the United States, Colorado, and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and my family, I would have to say very humbling,” he said.
Litwiler won the medals in the decathlon and “toughest competitor alive” – an event combining swimming, running, weights, and more.
His colleague, Deputy Montoya-Collis, competed too, but an injury kept him off the podium.
“It was a blessing, man,” Montoya-Collis said. “There’s no other way to look at it — when you go to another country, representing your country, and you are able to compete or watch your teammates compete and be successful.”READ MORE: Marmot Rescued Outside Steakhouse In Englewood After 'Hitchhiking' From Mountains
Both deputies trained for two years leading up to the event while working full-time at the department. The two tell CBS4 their hard work wasn’t all about winning a medal.
“It’s stress relief for the job that we do day in and day out and it’s just a way to forget about the day-to-day operations and focus on something positive,” Litwiler said.
They also see it as a way to meet and learn from police and firefighters from all around the world.
“There’s some very, very good people across the pond, per se, that are really trying to make this world a better place and that are dedicated to a better life for everybody,” Montoya-Collis said.
One thing Deputy Litwiler will forever cherish about this experience is that his daughter made the trip with him. Since she speaks Mandarin, the teen became the unofficial translator for the team.
“It was a great experience to see her thrive in a brand new culture and be able to embrace it and to communicate with little to know barriers,” he said.MORE NEWS: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra Meets With Gov. Jared Polis
Both men plan to do this all over again in the Netherlands in two years. Next time they’ll actually compete against each other in several events.