“We Ride For Those Who Died” boast the more than 1,300 members of the Police Unity Tour, headed for the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Many of the cyclists who shoved off early Monday are thinking of one of New Jersey’s own,
Patrolman Christopher Maltosz
of Lakewood, who was gunned down in cold blood in January before he even had a chance to react.
( SEE: CLIFFVIEW PILOT COVERAGE ).
Others hold former Fair Lawn P.O. Mary Ann Collura in their thoughts ( SEE : CLIFFVIEW PILOT COVERAGE ).
All are bringing sizable donations, in support of the memorial to those who have fallen, as well as hearts
heavy over the mounting losses of law enforcement officers to violence nationwide.
Collura’s colleague, Fair Lawn Police Sgt. Richard Schultz, and 17 fellow officers from North Jersey launched the annual ride to the memorial in 1997, carrying an initial gift of $18,000.
Now they need at least 30 motor escorts for the outpouring of officers who will set off from East Hanover, Franklin Township, and Howell, as well as from Virginia’s Portsmouth and Richmond.
Each rider on the 300-mile average trip is raising more than $1,700 toward the memorial.
“The last couple of years our donations have exceeded one million dollars,” Schultz told CLIFFVIEW PILOT , as he began making final preparations.
All told, the group has donated more than $8.4 million, some of which has gone toward a restoration project that includes re-engraving, coating and sealing the 19,298 names on the memorial, among other improvements.For many of us, a particular name stands out
“The group’s motto says it all,” the sergeant added.
“We raise awareness of the Memorial, as well as the sacrifices made by those whose names are inscribed on that wall,” Schultz said. “We also help financially support the Memorial and the museum that is going to be built across the street.”
Having raised $5 million toward the museum, the group will be the official sponsor of its Hall of Remembrance.
The riders will arrive in the nation’s capitol on Thursday for a 3 p.m. ceremony at the memorial, between 4th & 5th Streets in NW Washington, D.C., to the cheers of thousands of family, friends and supporters.
Friday night marks the 23rd Annual Candlelight Vigil at the memorial, beginning at 8 o’clock.
“As a charter member of the group, I can honestly say this is probably the best thing I have gotten involved with besides supporting Special Olympics,” Schultz told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “The surviving families I know appreciate what this group does. And that’s really what makes it worth doing.”
For information on how you can donate: PoliceUnityTour.com
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.