DLA Police officer rides for charity

By Sara Moore DLA Public Affairs

Riding 250 miles on a bicycle in three days seems like a monumental task to many people, but to Defense Logistics Agency Police Sgt. James Sprecher, it was a labor of love and only one in a long list of charity bike rides that he participates in each year.

Sprecher, a 15-year veteran of the DLA Police force, participated in the Law Enforcement United Road to Hope, a 250-mile bike ride from Chesapeake, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., during National Police Week May 10-15 to raise money for families of police officers killed in the line of duty.

“On this last big ride, it was all police officers and the survivors of police officers,” Sprecher said of the Road to Hope. “The best thing was the camaraderie, getting to know these people and their stories, sharing life stories with each other and helping each other.”

While it is the longest ride he’s done to date, the Road to Hope is not the only ride Sprecher has participated in this year. Since 2009, Sprecher has done six or seven charity bike rides per year for a variety of causes.

“I like to keep a wide variety of rides,” Sprecher said. “My wife gets on me occasionally; she doesn’t like me spending so much time on my bike, but it’s for good causes. These are causes I’m passionate about.”

In addition to rides supporting law enforcement officers and families, Sprecher, who has Type 2 diabetes, participates every year in the Tour de Cure, which raises money for diabetes awareness. He also rides in Paul’s Ride for Life, which honors Paul Rossmeissl, who died from injuries suffered in a bicycle accident on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. Rossmeissl donated his organs, and the ride raises money for the Washington Regional Transplant Community.

Sprecher, who spent three years in the Army during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, has always been interested in bike riding. He raced BMX bikes as a child and runs the DLA Police bike team, but he was drawn to charity bike rides in 2009, when he attended a National Police Week candlelight vigil and met some of the bike riders. They encouraged him to begin training for endurance riding and join them whenever he felt ready.

“It took me a while to get my endurance up, because I’m not the most perfect bike rider and I don’t have the bike rider body, but I’ve noticed among the bike teams, they had all sorts of different types of people,” he said. “They said, ‘As long as you have the heart to ride and you have the spirit to ride, we’re glad to have you.’” 

Sprecher’s first charity ride was a 50-mile ride on the Eastern Shore in 2009 using a mountain bike. He quickly realized the mountain bike was too heavy for distance riding, he said, so he invested in a road bike and after that, was hooked.

“I’ve crashed; I’ve broken many a bone, crashed many a bike,” he said. “I may have broken a few bones here and there, but I’m still alive and still kicking. I never let it stop me.”

DLA Police Lt. Felix Fletcher, who is Sprecher’s direct supervisor and has worked with him for 14 years, said he is not surprised to see Sprecher giving back to the community.

“He’s a great sergeant; he’s a hard worker,” Fletcher said. “He knows his job very well, and he’s reliable. He’s the type of officer that everybody would want to have on his shift.”

Fletcher said Sprecher is trying to get some of the other DLA Police officers involved in the charity bike rides, and the organization is going to host a fundraiser – a hot dog sale at the McNamara Headquarters Complex -- for Sprecher’s participation in next year’s Law Enforcement United ride. He said he is proud to highlight Sprecher’s contributions, which reflect the kind of person he is every day.

"It’s just his demeanor - you don’t see him get upset a lot,” Fletcher said of Sprecher. “He’s just so easy to talk to, so if somebody has a problem and comes to him, he’s not going to get upset, he’s going to listen to what you have to say and he’s going to respond back to you in a way that will make you feel better about yourself.”