May 20, 2016 —
Two DLA police officers participated in the Law Enforcement United “Road to Hope Memorial Bicycle Ride” from Chesapeake to Arlington, Virginia, May 10-12. Staff Sgt. James Sprecher was one of 300 police officers who biked 250 miles over three days while Lt. James Haaf and about 80 others served in support roles. The annual charity event is a prelude to National Police Week, May 15-21.
Riders from the Virginia Division of the LEU joined 130 bicyclists from the Pennsylvania Division and 70 riders from the New Jersey Division for a ceremony at the Iwo Jima Memorial May 11. The Pennsylvania riders started their ride in Reading while the New Jersey riders biked from Atlantic City. LEU sponsors the event each year to raise awareness of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and to raise funds for programs that support surviving family members.
Riders rode with bracelets in honor of the 123 officers killed in the line of duty last year. Sprecher rode for Cpl. William Solomon, a Georgia Ports Authority police officer who was directing traffic when he was struck by a drunk driver last March.
Sprecher and Haaf also had more personal reasons to participate in the ride. “We participated in honor of Lt. Haaf’s father, a police officer from Minneapolis who was killed in the line of duty in 1992,” Sprecher said. “He’s the reason we both got involved with this event.”
All participants, riders and support personnel, raised funds in the months leading up to the “Road to Hope” bike ride.
“Our participants raised over $300,000 this year,” said John Mapes, president of the LEU Virginia Division. “And we are a true charity — all our staff members are volunteers.”
“One of the charity recipients is an organization called ‘Concerns of Police Survivors’,” Haas said. “They fund a summer camp for children of fallen officers where they can participate in camp activities with other kids who are going through the same thing.”
According to the website, the camp also provides grief counseling and sets the kids up with a support system of peers for when they leave.
The LEU’s mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of all law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty and remember the survivors left behind.