SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a chilling statistic. Nearly forty police officers have been shot dead while on duty across the country.
Hundreds of cyclists participated in the “Ride to Remember” to honor those fallen officers, and to raise money for a good cause.
Applause and cheers filled the air as 320 riders pedaled toward the State House in Boston Saturday. It was the final stretch after biking 106 miles from Springfield for the fourth annual “Ride to Remember” –an event honoring fallen police officers.
Sgt. John Delaney of the Springfield Police Dept. told 22News, “It’s worth every mile when we come in here to see what’s going on here. It’s a show of support for law enforcement.”
The event began in 2013 as a tribute to fallen Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose and Westfield Police Officer Jose Torres. Both died while on duty.
Officer Andy DiNapoli of the Holyoke Police Dept. told 22News, “They have it in their nature to go out there and help as many people as they can, and unfortunately when you try to help some people the dangers come with it.”
22News Storm Team Meteorologist Jennifer Pagliei took part in Saturday’s ride alongside Jessica Pertusz of our sales department.
This year, participants embarked on the cross-state bike ride in honor of State Trooper Thomas Clardy and Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarantino. The two officers were killed while conducting separate traffic stops.
Governor Charlie Baker noted that the event is a way to show support to those families, saying, “Events like this give people a chance to tell families and other officers and their families how much we appreciate that service and sacrifice.”
The annual “Ride to Remember” raised more than $250-thousand dollars for the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial in Boston, as well as the Michael Schiavina and Alain Beauregard Memorial soccer fields in Springfield.
The “Ride to Remember” is growing in popularity. A few years ago, there were just 190 participants. Now, more than 300 people take part in the annual bike ride.
Sgt. Delaney said there will be a fifth “Ride to Remember,” and they’re hoping for 500 riders next year.