Cops Cycling for Survivors honors fallen officers as it rides through South Bend
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Riding bikes to remember officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. That’s what the 16th annual Cops Cycling for Survivors bike ride did as it made its way through the area on Thursday and Friday.
The cyclists are police escorted while they ride about 1,000 miles in 13 days. Cyclists have already completed over 300 miles of that distance.
The ride has gained a lot of support since it first started. Only six cyclists participated on the first ride around the state, this year there were 40 on the first day.
Its goal is to honor officers who have lost their lives, and also to support their families.
This year’s ride includes a tribute to Deputy Carl Koontz from the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, who was shot while serving a warrant in March of 2016.
Survivors come together from across the state to have dinner with the cyclists and share their stories.
President of the Cops Cycling for Survivors Foundation Rich Crawford says it’s a great way to engage with the community.
“Because we’re not in our uniforms, we’re in our cycling outfits and we’re on our bikes. And kids will come up just like today at lunch in Middlebury, some kids came up to us and wanted to take their picture with us.”
This ride was started by Lt. Gary Dudley in 2002. Just four years later, Dudley was killed during the ride when a vehicle hit the support truck and it crashed into the cyclists.
“I was there the day that he was killed,” said Crawford. “So I do it for my friend, to keep it going. He was passionate about honoring police officers in Indiana who lost their lives in the line of duty, and remembering the survivors that had been left behind. So that’s what we continue to do today.”
All the money raised during the ride goes to foundations or scholarships that were created by the families of fallen officers.
Crawford says they expect to raise about $50,000 from this year’s ride. If you would like to donate or to find out the foundations supported, click here.