Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Police Unity Tour 2009 Arrives Safely at the Memorial



It seemed as if the line of blue-uniformed bicyclists would never end. Two-by-two, they cycled up E Street, NW, into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Tuesday afternoon to the rousing applause of family members, friends and supporters—the final leg of what had been days of cycling over hundreds of miles in honor of their fallen law enforcement colleagues.

Approximately 1,200 officers participated in this year’s Police Unity Tour. Their mission, as always: to raise awareness of officers killed in the line of duty and to raise money for the Memorial Fund and the Hall of Remembrance in the National Law Enforcement Museum. They certainly delivered on both accounts this year.

As they rode past the United States Capitol toward the Memorial under brilliant blue skies, the Police Unity Tour was impossible to miss. And when all was said and done, Unity Tour President Pat Montuore, chief of the Florham Park (NJ) Police Department, and Executive Director Harry Phillips presented the Memorial Fund with a check for more than $1.3 million—the largest annual total ever. It brought the Unity Tour’s total donation to the NLEOMF over the past 13 years to nearly $7 million.



With a motto of “We Ride for Those Who Died,” every member of the Police Unity Tour rides for a fallen officer.

Forty-three members of the Fairfax County (VA) Police Department—including first-time rider Dave Rohrer, their chief, and Captain Cindy McAlister—rode in honor of three members of their agency: Detective Vicky Armel and Master Police Officer Michael Garbarino, who were fatally shot three years ago outside the Sully District Station that Captain McAlister commands, and Lieutenant Frank Stucco, who died in a training accident last October.

Officer Scott High of the Rockaway Borough (NJ) Police Department remembered his father during this year’s ride, a Rockaway Township officer who died in 2004 from non-duty related causes. Scott handed out 1,000 small American flags along the way from New Jersey so that young people would have a more positive attitude toward law enforcement.

Miriam Fernandez, mother of fallen Hollywood (FL) Officer Alex Del Rio, didn’t cycle in the tour, but she was at both the New Jersey kickoff and today’s ceremony, at the invitation of Jim Manley of the NYPD, who was riding for Officer Del Rio. Though her son died just six months ago, she has already established a foundation in Alex’s name to help the children of south Florida.

Officer John Jorgenson of the Roseville (MN) Police Department said he was thrilled to be riding in his third consecutive Unity Tour – and not having his fellow officers ride for him. Last December, he was shot and seriously wounded as he led a regional SWAT team on a high-risk entry. He has undergone seven surgeries on his wrist and hand, and eighth one is scheduled. But having some bullet fragments still in his hand would not deter Jorgy from honoring three officers whose memory bracelets he wore throughout the ride.

16 comments:

  1. I am so proud of the Unity Tour, Im proud to be part of the Law Enforcement Family.

    Officer Lang #2007
    Columbus Ohio Police Department

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  2. Iam so proud and greatful for these men and women who risk there lives to keep us safe! God Blees each and everyone of you!

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  3. I am so proud of my husband's ride in the Unity Tour this year. He is my hero! The Law Enforcement community is one of a kind and I am proud to be part of it.

    Tracey Kita (wife of Sgt. Bill Kita)
    Wildwood Crest Police Department, NJ

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  4. To the Officer who rode for Keith Chiasson, Thibodaux PD, you switched places with the other officer to give me your bracelet, I am so proud of you. I love you for doing what you did for my brother, and "your brother". Thank you for caring and sharing with me. Please stay safe and God Bless You Always.
    Jeanie
    sister of Keith Chiasson
    Captain, Thibodaux, Louisiana Police Department
    EOW - 3/10/2008
    THANK YOU!!!!!

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  5. Riding into the Memorial this year was as electicfying and moving as it was that first year way back in 1997 with the original 18 chartered memembers!

    Richie Schultz
    Fair Lawn PD
    Police Unity Tour memember since 1997

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  6. great job! Thanks for what you do everyday to keep America safe!!

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  7. Christopher I am so proud of you. No matter what it is you put your mind to you never fail. You have suceeded far beyond my dreams as my son. Jamie, Bailey and I love you so much. Love Your MoM. Hamburg, Sussex Co. NJ

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  8. I want to thank Major Maggie DeBoard with the Fairfax County Police Department. She has been riding with the tour for several years now and has been an inspiration to all of us who rode this year. The Police Unity Tour is her passion. One only has to walk into her office to know that. Everything on her walls has to do with the Unity Tour. She will never let any of our fallen officers be forgotten.

    Thank you Maggie

    Police Unity Tour - Northern Virginia Group.

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  9. I can't believe the Police Unity Tour is over. As a rider I would like to Thank the support teams and the Motors. You guys were all great and made the Tour that much easier.

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  10. WHAT AN HONOR TO HAVE BEEN PART OF SOMETHING SO MEANINGFUL. I WILL TALK ABOUT THE RIDE OF MY LIFE HONORING SO MANY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE ! I MET AN ANGEL DURING THE RIDE BIKE #116, SIR YOU COMPLETED THE UNITY TOUR FOR ME THANKS !

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  11. Hats off to the support personnel and motor officers. Without you all, none of this would have bene possible. Thank you all for your hard work and please know that all of your efforts don't go unnoticed. To all of the riders, it was great riding with you all and I can't wait to do it all again next year! Smile and wave boys!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. The greatest ride yet!!!! How wonderful to have a SEA OF BLUE ahead and behind you. Thanks to all the motors, support and Board Members who worked into many late nights.

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  13. John, Shultzy & the rest of Team MN... great job! Very proud of all of you!

    Lori Jorgensen
    Canton, MA

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  14. Ofc. Shawn McMinn, Aspinwall PD (Pa.)May 19, 2009 at 7:28 PM

    This was my 2nd year as a rider participant, although we fell short last year, I must say that I had the most incredible feeling and adrenaline rush when arriving at the Police Memorial, especially seeing so many people lining the streets to support all of us. I would like to thank all the support personnel and motor officers for such a great job they did to get us from start to finish safely. I will also never forget the speech Mr. Montoure gave at RFK stadium, prior to leaving for the Police Memorial. Mr. Montoure reminded us all of our motto "We Ride for Those Who Died" and to never forget our fallen brothers and sisters who gave their lives for us. His speech instantly brought tears to my eyes. I am looking forward to riding with all of you again next year.

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  15. My girlfriend and work partner, Earlanne Lewis rode for fallen SWAT operator, Anthony E. Forgione(Okaloosa County, Fl.) I have never been so proud of he.

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