Motorcycle run raises money for law enforcement causes
By Dan McDonald
For Hometown News
NORTH BREVARD -- An estimated 700 to 1,000 motorcycles are expected to participate in the annual Brevard Lawride Saturday, April 6, an approximately 60-mile escorted fun run that raises money for several police charities and causes.
"The ride is open to anyone with a motorcycle," said Sgt. Alan Rainey of the Brevard Lawride and a sergeant with the Brevard County Sheriff's Department. "We'll be registering everyone starting at 8 a.m. at the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum in Titusville.
"Once the registration is complete, " he said, "we'll start the run, which should be near 11 a.m. We travel through north Brevard, up to Oak Hill, out to the Space Center, then back to the Police Hall of Fame for entertainment and a barbecue lunch."
Registration for the Lawride is tax-deductible and costs $20 for each rider and $10 for a passenger and includes the barbecue lunch.
Funds raised by Brevard Lawride Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, will support the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum and the Central Florida Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, a support group that helps the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.
"This run began as a way for local law enforcement officers to raise money, so they could defray the expense of traveling with their motorcycles to Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Lawride and candlelight vigil that is held at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial," Sgt. Rainey said.
"It was held, more or less, annually, but there were some skips through the years," he said. "Then, the Brevard Lawride became more established and formal. Now we're incorporated, and this is the 11th consecutive year we'll be holding the run."
According to Sgt. Rainey, who is member of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, a part-time marketing manager at Space Coast Harley-Davidson and who also teaches motorcycle safety courses for the Florida Safety Council, the Lawride is escorted by upward of 50 police motorcyclists, who not only provide security, but also select the exact route.
"They come and inspect the possible routes we take to make sure there are no construction obstacles or bad stretches of road," Sgt. Rainey said. "So, we take a different route each run. But, the escorts do a great job of keeping us all together going through lights and avoiding traffic.
Sgt. Rainey said he believes as many as 10 local motorcycle lawmen will make the trek to Washington for the annual candlelight service that honors fallen law officers. The candlelight service is held May 13, during National Police Week, and will be extra poignant for local law enforcers, as another familiar name is added to the Memorial.
Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill, 52, was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle, connected to a robbery at a Melbourne area motel on March 6, 2012, becoming the fifth Brevard law enforcement officer to have her name etched into the Memorial.
Deputy Pill's will be one of 320 (201 are historical deaths) names added to the inspirational monument this year, bringing the total of officers, who died in the line of duty, to 19,800, since Cornelius Hogeboom, a sheriff in Columbia County, N.Y., became America's first murdered lawman when he was shot and killed, while serving an eviction notice in 1791.
"All of those officers are heroes," Sgt. Rainey said. "Barbara's family will be there when her name is revealed. It should be a great event, and I'm sure it will be extremely emotional for all involved.
"I hope a lot of people come out for the Brevard Lawride. It's a great day and serves a great cause," Sgt. Rainey added. "We hope everyone, who lives locally and drives a motorcycle comes out and helps us spread the word and helps raise money, so we can provide for our fellow officers."
Sgt. Rainey wanted to recognize two of the event's major sponsors - Space Coast Harley-Davidson and Deseret Ranches.
"They do so much and ask nothing in return," he said.
He also said anyone, who wishes to, can donate money or find more information via the group's website, www.brevardlawride.org.
Sgt. Rainey also warned that helmets are required for all motorcycles riders, entering Kennedy Space Center.