In 1997, eighteen Police Officers rode their bikes 300 miles beginning in Florham Park, NJ and finished in Washington, DC.
This year, 1,200 riders made that same 300 mile trip. Among them were Lt Mike Faria of the Middletown Police Department and Officer Joe Carroll of the Newport Police Department. They rode along with fellow officers and family members of fallen officers.
Each rider is asked to raise money that is used to maintain the National Law Enforcement Memorial, the National Law Enforcement Museum, and given to families of officers killed in the line of duty.
To help meet their donation requirement for next year’s ride Faria and Carroll hosted this Sunday's motorcycle ride fundraiser. Scotty McLeish and Scotty's Big Dawg's Pub & Restaurant was the local business to sponsor the event in it's second year.
The ride began and concluded at Scotty's Big Dawg's Pub & Restaurant on West Main Road. Over 56 motorcylists and their riders participated in support of this event. For the non-riders in the crowd, refreshments and a large raffle were conducted indoors.
The opening ceremonies included the National Anthem, sung by Newport Police Officer Jimmy Winters and Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes by Middletown eighth grader Liam Geer of the Newport AOH Pipe and Drum Band. The Middletown Fire Department did their part by erecting a large American Flag from the bucket of Ladder 2.
After a moment of silence, Officer Carroll shared with those in attendance the sobering statistics of the number of officers that are killed in the line of duty each year. This event and the Unity Tour were established to support the families of those taken while engaged in service and to ensure that their memories will always be honored.
Both officers also added that ,"This is a time when we especially want to remember all those that we lost during 9/11. It has been 11 years and we will never forget that tragedy."