EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Nearly a year after the Eugene Police Department lost two of its own officers, a group of local cyclists is banding together again to ride in honor of the officers they lost, while honoring other lost officers across the United States.
The Eugene Police cycling team involved in the national “Police Unity Tour” is back training once again for 2012's Unity Tour.
The tour takes place each May, pushing more than 1,400 people to ride in honor of fallen police officers across the United States. The ride stretches more than 250 bike miles between New Jersey and Washington D.C., ending at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
As part of the ride, each cyclist must raise more than $1,000 to take part. All of the money is funneled in to the D.C. National Law Enforcement Museum and Officers Memorial.
In early 2011, a group of six Eugene Police officers took part to form the first Unity Tour team in Oregon. Together, the officers raised more than $10,000.
(Read NewsSource 16's original story about Unity Tour team's 2011 ride at the following link: http://www.kmtr.com/news/local/story/EPD-officers-ride-bikes-for-Officer-Kilcullen/S_SIZ9Wda0uiZ5rowWroHw.cspx.)
Now in 2012, the team has grown to 9 members, including one officer from the University of Oregon and Tiffany Webber, the wife of Sgt. Jerry Webber, a 20-year veteran of the Eugene Police Department who died in a gun accident in February 2011.
“It was a very powerful and moving experience, moving forth this year, we have a little more energy behind it, more meaning from the some of the involved riders this year and like I said, we're just hoping to spread the word and keep growing,” says Officer Nate Pieske, an officer with Eugene Police and the team leader for the EPD Unity Tour team.
The money raise in 2011's Unity Ride will help engrave fallen Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen's name on the wall of fallen officers, as well as Rainer Police Chief Ralph Painter. Team members will also be riding in honor of Sgt. Jerry Webber and other fallen officers in Eugene, Oregon and the northwest.
The group is reaching out to the public now for donations and help. They'll hold several fundraisers in the coming weeks to raise money, including a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale at Eugene's West 11th Avenue Walmart on March 3rd and 4th, 2012. Other fundraisers are being planned at Papa's Pizza and Dickie Joe's.
To learn more about the group's upcoming fundraisers, visit its Facebook page at the following link:
Donations to the EPD Unity Tour team are being accepted at Selco Community Credit Union's through account number 485651-11.
To learn more about the Unity Tour, click the following link: http://policeunitytour.com/