Motorcycle ride honors record number of first responders to die in Arizona

TUCSON, Arizona (KOLD News 13) – More than 80 motorcyclists passed through Tucson on Saturday on an annual memorial ride to honor those who have lost their lives as Arizona sees a rapid rise in the number of deaths among first responders.

Arizona Fallen Hero Memorial Riders President Terry Johnson said the annual run is meant to honor the many sacrifices made by police, firefighters and all those who put their lives at risk in the job.

“The SMU, as well as the road workers and tow truck drivers. I am retired from DPS. When we had a disaster on the highway, who came with us to clean it up? It was those guys, ”Johnson said.

The organization said Arizona has lost a record 45 first responders this year. Eighteen of them have been lost in the past two weeks. Some have died in the line of duty, from COVID, cancer or suicide.

Justin Shield attended the motorcycle ride and said his brother was a customs and border patrol officer. Her brother died in January from COVID. Shield had a lot of emotions watching the motorcycles go by.

“A little emotional because it kind of reminded me of the services just procession after procession,” he said.

Shield said the motorcycle was an amazing way to honor his brother’s life and all the other lives lost.

“Let them know how much they are taken care of and that their brother, sister, spouse or child, that they are not forgotten. We will continue to roll through their memorial and remember them every year, ”said Kelley Meshirer, the Southern Community Liaison for the 100 Club of Arizona.

The ride was also meant to show appreciation for those who still serve.

“We are here to commemorate the dead, but we are also here to support those who still work every day,” Johnson said. “To show that there are people out there who support you.”

The Arizona Fallen Hero Memorial Riders held a hike in Prescott in September and will have another in Phoenix next month. The organization works with the 100 Club to raise funds for injured first responders and families who have lost loved ones.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

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