Two of West Deptford’s finest are preparing to honor their fallen comrades with a bike tour across the country—and you can help them reach their goals.
With more than 200 participants in South and Central Jersey alone, the Police Unity Tour, “the ride for those who died,” raises awareness of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. But the ride is only one component—participants also raise money for the cause, leading up to the tour in May.
As West Deptford Police Department’s Investigator John Craig and Det. Cpl. Rich Henry prepare for their first tour, they’re also planning fundraising events. The big one is a social on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Schileens Pub in Westville. Tickets, available in advance or at the door, are $25 and get you beer, wine and food for the evening.
Each Policy Unity Tour rider and support personnel must raise at least $1,700, which is donated to the National Law Enforcement Fund, Craig explains. The money helps raise awareness and maintain the National Law Enforcement Officers memorial and museum in Washington, DC.
“We just wanted to be a part of it,” says Craig. “It’s a great way to get out there and help the cause.”
While Craig and Henry are hosts for the social at Schileens Pub, a number of participants from the South Jersey chapter—Chapter II—will host other events in the lead up to the ride. Chapter II, which includes law enforcement from Woodbury, Deptford, the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office and Monroe Township, will present a comedy night fundraiser with Jimmy “Roundboy” Graham from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday, March 22 at Masso’s Catering in Williamstown. Tickets for the event are $30 per person.
For the members of Chapter II, the three-day bike tour will start in Howell Township and finish at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. While both West Deptford riders are already physically active, Craig says they will soon begin tour training, which will consist of long rides and cardiovascular strength workouts.
“This is our first year, so we’re playing it by ear,” says Craig.
After buying quality road bikes, Craig says they plan to start getting ready for the tour this weekend—starting with about 10 miles a day. When the weather breaks, Craig says he would like to be up to 25 miles a day and eventually work up to 45-50 miles by the time of the tour—which is more than 200 miles long.
While the tour may seem strenuous, bikers will have plenty of assistance out on the road. Support personnel will follow the riders over the course of the three-day tour in vehicles and be on hand for any mechanical or medical problem that may arise.
“The whole process is very organized,” says Craig. “They’ve really worked out every kink imaginable.”
In addition to the social at Schileens, fundraising for the event will also include a 5K race and fun walk at RiverWinds, Chick-fil-A night and the ongoing sale of Police Unity Tour T-shirts.
- Chik-Fil-A night is Thursday, Jan. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. All customers who mention the Police Unity Tour at the Chick-fil-A on Woodbury-Glassboro Road, Sewell, will have a portion of their bill donated to the cause.
- The 5K is on Sunday, March 10 at 9 a.m. Participants can register in advance with a $25 donation for the 5K and a $15 donation for the fun walk. Day-of registration is also available, starting at 7 a.m., with a $35 donation for the race and a $20 donation for the walk. Those who wish to register in advance can do so online.
For additional information on any of the fundraisers, T-shirts or tickets, contact Craig at 853-4599 ext. 170 or Henry at 853-4599 ext. 162.