Manatee Co. deputies ride to D.C. for fallen officers

- Dozens gathered along the roadway to support hundreds of officers, bicycling from Chesapeake, Virginia to Washington D.C. Among them, seven deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. 

Detective Jason Carey and Major William Dixon rode with the "Road to Hope Memorial Bicycle Tour," with Law Enforcement United.

"There was a lot of energy, a lot of encouragement, good comradity amongst all the other riders," said Det. Carey.

Each bicyclist's ride is in honor of a fallen officer. They wore bracelets bearing their chosen officer's name, as they navigated steep hills and rainy conditions.

"On the first day, it was 57 degrees, and it was raining. Torrential downpour," said Det. Carey.

They never gave up, and their motivation grew as they met other riders on the same journey.

Detective Carey rode next to a fallen officer's wife from Kentucky. Her husband had been killed in the line of duty.

"Her teeth were chattering. She looked miserable. She said she had never rode more than 10 miles on her bicycle, and in a group setting," Det. Carey said of one woman he met. "I told her, if anything was going to get her through it, it was her determination to ride for her husband."

Those moments pushed the group farther and harder.

"It made you remember why you rode. I rode in memory of Trooper Jeff Young who was killed in 1988 here in Manatee County. It gave you the motivation to keep going," said Major William Dixon.

Money they raised will go to help surviving family members. Team Manatee raised $15,000. 

"We are riding to get these family members to camp in the summer so all the kids, husbands and wives can learn to deal with the grief of their loved one," said Major Dixon.

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