LUFKIN Texas (KTRE) - A group of firefighters, police officers, and EMS personnel will be taking a 650-mile bicycle trip from Hempstead to Austin as part of the 2019 Texas Brotherhood Ride to honor emergency responders who died in the line of duty.
The ride will start on Saturday, August 17 and end on August 24.
“We’re all first responders - police officers, firefighters, and paramedics,” Tim Dunn, the group’s president, said Friday. “We’re taking this bike ride to honor the first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty last year.”
The group of 60 bicyclists will be passing through the Lufkin area sometime between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Jessica Pebsworth, a spokeswoman for the Lufkin Police Department. The Lufkin police and fire departments will escort them into town from State Highway 94 West, Pebsworth said.
The participants of the Texas Brotherhood Ride will stop at the Convention Center to eat. Their lunch will be provided by Brookshire Brothers, and drinks will be provided by Coca-Cola.
Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said the Texas Brotherhood Ride will head into Nacogdoches on Highway 259 from Henderson sometime between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday. Deputies from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s office will meet them at the county line and escort them to the Civic Center.
“They are coming to Nacogdoches in honor of Brad Jimmerson,” Bridges said. “They will be staying the night in Nacogdoches before leaving out on Monday.”
Dunn said one common misconception they run into is that they’re making the ride on motorcycles. He added that perceptions often change when people realize they’re making the ride through Texas on bicycles.
The combination of the sweltering August heat and the rolling hills of East Texas can be grueling, Dunn said.
A press release stated the group’s mission is to provide emotional and financial support for the families and co-workers of emergency responders who died in the line of duty.
During the eight-day ride, the members of the group will average 80 to 100 miles a day. On their way to Austin, the bicyclists will pass through the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
The Texas Brotherhood Ride will honor the following first responders:
- Loren Y. Vasquez - Waller County Sheriff’s Office
- Raymond Bradley Jimmerson - Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office
- M.V. Hudson - New London Volunteer Fire Department
- Earl James “Jamie” Givens, III - Dallas Police Department
- Rogelio Santander, Jr. - Dallas Police Department
- Paul Scott Ragsdale - US Department of Justice - ATF
- David Charles Sherrard - Richardson Police Department
- Garrett Willis Hull - Fort Worth Police Department
- Andy Loller - Weatherford Fire Department
- Caleb Scott - North Richland Hills Fire Department
- Damon Charles Allen - Texas Department of Public Safety
- K9 Pastor - Waco Police Department
- Charles Whites - Round Rock Police Department
- Devon Coney - Austin Fire Department
“Our riders must all be first responders and are required to have either a road or tri-bike,” the press release stated. “Just like in our profession, we continue the teamwork aspect during the ride – riding together, eating together and bunking together.”
According to the press release, the group’s support members are divided into full-time and part-time members.
“With the lead of the support coordinator, support members keep the event rolling,” the press release stated. “Support members are the backbone of our organization.”
The Texas Brotherhood Ride is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity organization.
“Other than the cost of conducting the rides, all donated proceeds go directly to the beneficiaries designated,” the press release stated. “No one is compensated for their time and all our team members sacrifice their own time with their family and work to participate in this event.”
If anyone is interested in joining the Texas Brotherhood Ride team as a rider and support members, there is a limited number of available openings.