(BLOOMINGTON) - Cops will be cycling into Bloomington today.
Cycling for Survivors Foundation, Inc. is an organization made up of active and retired police officers, law enforcement survivors, law enforcement family members and friends of law enforcement riding their bicycles around the perimeter of Indiana to raise money and awareness about the sacrifices made by Hoosier law enforcement families across the state. Funds raised from this event are used to aid surviving family members and co-workers of officers killed in the line-of-duty. Previously raised funds have been directly donated to the Indiana Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), National COPS, Illinois COPS, The Unity Tour and Project Blue Light.
The cyclists began their ride this year on July 8 in Indianapolis. Tomorrow Friday the ride will enter the Bloomington State Police District. The riders will begin tomorrow traveling west on S.R. 62 to S.R. 256 where they will go through Austin to S.R. 39. They will then travel north on S.R. 39 to U.S. 50 in Brownstown. They will proceed west on U.S. 50 where they will leave the Versailles District at the Jackson/Lawrence County line bound for Bloomington. Saturday, July 20th, the Ride will go from Bloomington to Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University, then to Crown Hill Cemetery, Heroes Section.
For those traveling in these areas PLEASE use extreme caution as there will be several riders and emergency vehicles with the group. To see the route the cyclists will follow, please visit their website:
http://www.copscycling4survivors.org/route.html. Additional information on specific locations of meals and overnights can be found by clicking on the Calendar tab of the website.
This year the cyclists are recognizing the sacrifices made by Lake County Corrections Officer Britney Meux and Indiana Department of Corrections Officer Timothy Betts. Corrections Officer Meux was killed instantly when struck while on a training run around the perimeter of the Lake County Jail. Three co-workers were also injured in the hit and run crash. She was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Lake County Sheriff's Department for three years. Officer Meux is survived by her daughter, mother, father, and four sisters. Correctional Officer Betts suffered a heart attack while escorting an unruly prisoner to the segregation unit at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Officer Betts had served with the Indiana Department of Correction for 15 years. He is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Cops Cycling for Survivors Foundation, Incorporated was granted 501(c) 3 status as a not-for-profit in late 2011, and the inaugural 13 day tour around Indiana took place in July of 2012. However, the spirit of this ride began many years before. In 2001 a group of police officers decided to support survivors by riding their bicycles from Indianapolis, Indiana to Washington, D.C. to honor officers who had been killed in the line of duty and to support their survivors.
The ride has gone through many changes over the years, but one thing has remained constant; the cyclists' dedication to honoring fallen law enforcement heroes and supporting their survivors left behind.
Two people who were integral to the success of Cops Cycling were Lt. Gary Dudley of the Indiana State Police and Retired Chief Gary Martin of the Lake County Police Department. Lt. Dudley took the organizational and emotional lead and kept the wheels rolling after the first two years riding to Washington, D.C. Wanting to do more to support survivors on a local level, Gary brought the ride home to Indiana.
Tragically, on August 22, 2006, Lt. Dudley and Chief Martin were both killed during the ride when a large box truck struck the rear of the support truck, pushing the support truck into the cyclists. Several of the cyclists who had participated in the ride for many years and were cycling the day of the crash were determined to keep Lt. Dudley and Chief Martin's memories and motivation alive. Those memories and motivation have developed into what the ride is today; Lt. Dudley's vision and legacy in supporting law enforcement survivors. To date, the cycling event has raised over $300,000 for IN Concerns of Police Survivors.
For more information on the ride please visit the Cops Cycling for Survivors Foundation web-site at: http://www.copscycling4survivors.org/ or Rich Crawford, President of Cops Cycling for Survivors Foundation, Inc. at 317-650-8961.
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