Bicycling across state honors fallen
Ken Kosky The Times |Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Bicycling across the entire state isn't
easy, but it's something Stephen Knight loves doing each summer because it's for
a good cause. Knight and dozens of other bicyclists passed through Lake and
Porter counties on Tuesday morning as part of their 13-day, 900-mile tour of
Indiana to raise money for Concerns of Police Survivors. The money pays for
counseling, legal services and more for survivors of fallen law enforcement
officers. The bicyclists, in addition to raising money, also meet survivors
along their route.
"The whole purpose of the ride is to
remember the survivors. ...to let them know they're still in our thoughts and
prayers," said Knight, who serves with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police.
The Indiana COPS ride, now in its sixth year, is expected to raise $40,000.
"It's the highlight of my summer. I look forward to it every year," Knight
said. "It's an honor to do this for all the fallen officers," added Cass County
Sheriff's Department Deputy Mike Shannon. Larry Hecht, whose son, Timothy
Hecht, died during a Porter County SWAT Team drill in 1999, met up with the
bicyclists when they stopped Tuesday morning at the Porter County Sheriff's
Department. Hecht said COPS is a wonderful organization that provides valuable
services for survivors like himself. Hobart residents Mike and Linda Jacobson,
the brother-in-law and sister of FBI agent Rob Hardesty, who died after being
paralyzed during a tactical training mishap in 2005, also greeted the bicyclists
in Valparaiso. "After Rob's death, the COPS organization was very supportive,"
Mike Jacobson said. He said COPS helps survivors even years later through
programs like free camps for the children of fallen officers. The bicyclists,
who have a support truck and police escorts along their journey, pedaled to
Mishawaka after stopping in Northwest Indiana.