Another year has quickly gone by and it's time for another ride. The 2014 Police Unity Tour!
Thank you for taking the time to read.
On May 9th I will leave NJ on a bicycle, headed for Washington DC. Yes, bicycle. The Ride will take 4 days and cover more than 300 miles. The trip is called the Police Unity Tour and its main purpose is to honor the lives of police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, all while raising awareness of the dangers we/they face everyday. Every year, around the world, hundreds of officers die in the line of duty. In, 2013 there were 107 deaths in the United States alone and as of January 24th; 5 officers have already given their lives in 2014. The Police Unity Tour's second goal is to raise money for the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial and Museum. The National Law Enforcement Memorial is in Washington DC, the wall at the memorial now has more than 19,000 names. Since its inception, the Police Unity Tour has raised more than 14 Million dollars for the memorial. The money goes towards the upkeep of the memorial, museum and visitor center...which get over 200,000 visitors annually. In addition, there is a National Law Enforcement museum being built just across the street from the memorial, our donations help to fund that project as well.
I have participated in the Unity Tour for many years now and each year I face the same challenge. Identifying with someone who is very much a part of me, who is no longer here, who is missed by his or her family and friends and who could easily have in fact, been me, or any of my brother officers.
This year I am dedicating my ride to Mingo County Sheriff's Officer, Walter "Eugene" Crum. Although Eugene had a collective 30 years in law enforcement, he was on the job for only 3 months as a Sheriff's Officer before being assassinated as he sat in his car. I often think about this very danger, as a patrol officer, your entire work place is confined to that small space known as a driver seat. Something as simple as looking down to write a report or taking a lunch break could result in someone walking up in surprise and doing the unthinkable. This is precisely what happened. On April 3rd 2013, as Eugene sat in his vehicle at the corner of Harvey St and Third Ave in Williamson, West Virginia, a man named Tennis Maynard approached and without pause or warning, shot him point blank in the head, killing him before fleeing the scene.
You can read more about Officer Crum here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Crum
As I've said many times, I need not know any of these men and women who've made the ultimate sacrifice. We share a common, almost indescribable bond with each other. When I hear of another officer's "end of watch", I know that could have easily been me. I am Eugene Crum, Eugene Crum is me. Perhaps to the layperson, that makes little sense, but to us it is the motivating force in the desire to pay homage. It is what makes us say, I must be part of this cause; I will ride for those who died.
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