Tour De Force began in 2002 when a group of NYPD cops in the Bronx decided to complete an endurance event to remember the victims of 9/11. Nine participants, with the assistance of a four man support team, cycled from the Pentagon to Ground Zero. They completed the ride in four days, riding to the finish through the somber first anniversary gathering at Ground Zero.
Since then the Tour de Force has grown to three hundred participants and forty support team members who feel strongly about the cause and believe it’s a very worthwhile endeavor. We have also incorporated and gained status as a 501(c)3 charity. The mission is to raise funds for the families of Police Officers killed in the line of duty nationwide. Our participants, volunteer support team along with family and friends have bonded together and raised more than $2.5 million since the group’s inception.
I joined Tour De Force in 2008 as a truck driver on the support team. Immediately, in that first year, I realized that this organization is very special. Throughout the ride that year, we made stops along the way so that we could present checks to the families of officers killed in the line of duty. One in particular was that of the widow of Perth Amboy Officer Thomas Raji. The route that year was modified so that we could make the presentation at his grave side. This tragedy was still fresh on our minds as it had just occurred weeks before the ride. It also very much hit home to me while I witnessed the presentation as I lived and worked not too far from Perth Amboy.
It was at that moment I decided that I needed to continue to help carry on the mission of this organization. And, each year since then I have made every effort to attend the rides. I have met many wonderful people from around the world, many of whom I have become close personal friends with.
In the years since, I have logged many miles and countless hours in support of the organization. We have been to the Pentagon, spent time in Boston (even got to see the real Cheers) and have seen the World Trade Center re-emerge as a prominent fixture in the NYC skyline. I even had the honor of personally presenting a check to the widow of Mt. Arlington Officer Joe Wargo who was well liked and known amongst many law enforcement officers in my area.
In 2013, the ride was modified after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. The organizers decided that the last 26 miles of the ride would take place along the route of the marathon and would end at the same finish line. We went even further. The last day of the ride was dubbed "Sean's Ride" in honor of M.I.T. Officer Sean Collier who was killed during the man hunt for the animals responsible for that awful tragedy. The proceeds raised that day all went to a fund sent up in his honor. I even had the honor of meeting Sean's father who was present at the finish line and shook the hands of each and every rider that crossed. I still get chills up my spine thinking about everything I witnessed that day and the feeling I had as I watched all of our riders cross that finish line.
Again, I have made it my goal to attend the rides every year since 2008. The reward to me is seeing the good that it brings to the spouses, children, mothers, fathers and families of the fallen officers that we support. Anything you can give will help tremendously, so please help me to help the families of those officers that have made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you very much!