SHIPPENSBURG — Shippensburg University Police Sgt. Patrick Taylor and Shippensburg Borough Police Officer Thomas Young will participate next weekend in the Police Unity Tour, a 250-mile bicycle ride from Portsmouth, Virginia, to Washington.
The event will be May 10 to 12, in conjunction with National Police Week. Each rider must raise at least $2,000, and proceeds benefit the families of fallen officers and the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and Museum.
Both men are on the bicycle patrol units at their respective police departments.
Taylor, who is making the trip for the second time, said he ran across the event website at work and knew immediately it was something he wanted to do.
“It seemed like a worthwhile cause for those family members who have lost a loved one in the line of duty,” he said. “To help those families out, knowing you are able to show them that law enforcement has not and will not forget their sacrifice, just really provides you with a sense of peace and comfort.”
Taylor and Young are part of Chapter 8 in Florida, a group of about 200 riders. Riders from 10 other chapters in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and other states on the East Coast will also make the trip, leaving from different locations. On May 12, riders from all of the chapters — about 1,500 — will meet at RFK Stadium in Washington, and ride to the finish line at the law enforcement memorial.
“It gives families a chance to not only see the memorial, but to participate in the event and receive much needed support and much needed closure,” Taylor said. “They’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, and it shows them that their loved ones are not forgotten, and their sacrifices are not unnoticed.”
Taylor said each participant rides in memory of an officer who died the previous year, and at the end of the race presents a bracelet to that officer’s family.
The event also includes a candlelight vigil with a reading of the names of fallen officers.
On his last ride, Taylor recalled passing an elementary school, where all of the students stood outside waving in support as the group passed.
“That was really neat to see,” he said.
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