Mango Sun, Congregation B’nai Torah present check from fundraiser.
Sgt. Jamie Gogarty said it’s quite an experience to arrive at the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum in Washington D.C. with hundreds of other officers after a 250-mile bike ride, called the Police Unity Tour.
“It’s exhilarating,” he said.
Officers from throughout the nation will join together in May for the three-day, 250-mile bike ride from Portsmouth, Virginia, to the monument to raise awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.
Gogarty, who was on the tour last year, said each rider wears a bracelet with the name of an officer who died in the past year. When they arrive at the monument, they present the family of the officer with the bracelet to show they rode in the officer’s honor. The name of the officer will be inscribed on the monument.
Joining the other officers and families at the monument, the significance of the event is very apparent, he said.
“You really get it,” he said.
Gogarty and three other Ormond Beach police officers, Lt. Jesse Godfrey, Sgt. Lisa Rosenthal and Officer Amberly Michaelis will take the tour this year, after raising the necessary $8,000 in donations since September.
Putting them over the top was a pasta dinner at Mango Sun Café and Grill on March 1, organized and promoted by the Congregation B’nai Torah Men’s Club. The event raised $1,120.
In addition to seeking donations, the officers have also been training.
“We rode 35 miles this morning, dodging the motorcycles,” Godfrey at the check presentation on March 12 (during Bike Week) at Mango Sun.
The officers said they are ready for the ride.
“We’ve been training three days a week and will probably go to five days,” Gogarty said.
The first day is 110 miles and takes 10 hours. The next two days are 70 miles each. The riders stay in a group, which takes longer than if they raced.
The officers from throughout the nation meet at RFK Stadium on the last day so they can ride to the monument together.
Charles Moskowitz, of the Men’s Club, has been a volunteer for the police department for several years. When they heard about the effort to go on the tour, the club decided to help, he said.
The memorial and museum was established in 1984 by an act of the United States Congress and serves to honor the more than 20,000 men and women who have been killed while performing their duty as police officers.