ST. JOHN VALLEY– Two Maine police officers with Valley connections are riding bicycle today in a three to four day trek to honor a fallen comrade, Warden Pilot Darrell Gordon of Eagle Lake who died in March of last year in a plane crash after over 25 years of service.
On May 9, Sergeant Luke Dyer of Van Buren will participate in the Police Unity Tour, which showcases the camaraderie between officers. Nearly 1,600 officers from across the country participate in the annual ride, but Dyer and Officer John Bagley of Rockland, originally of Madawaska, are the only two officers taking part in the event from the State of Maine this year. This is Dyer’s first time participating and Bagley’s third, but it is his first time riding to honor a fallen officer from Maine.
Dyer has been preparing for the event since mid-December.
“It has been important to me personally to be in the best possible shape I can be in for this ride,” he said.
Dyer has found it difficult to train over the past few months, due to the average northern Maine snow-filled winter. He has trained indoors doing exercises to build his endurance for the tour.
The bicycle tour consists of multiple routes, each being more than 300 miles in length and ending at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.
Dyer and Bagley will be part of the Police Unity Tour Inc. Chapter II, which consists of approximately 200 officers from New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Maine and New Hampshire.
The Maine officers’ route will take them through southern New Jersey, into Delaware, Maryland, and will end in Washington D.C.
“I want to honor those fallen Officers by giving 100 percent of myself to this endeavor,” he said.
At the tour’s end on May 13, organizers of the event will hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the fallen police officers of 2011. Both Dyer and Bagley will wear the Maine Warden Service patch on their cycling jerseys to honor Gordon.
“The primary purpose of the Police Unity Tour is to raise public awareness of the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty throughout our country,” explained Dyer. “In 2011, 173 men and women gave their lives protecting citizens that were probably perfect strangers. They didn’t put on a uniform that day and not expect to return home to their families. It is important that we keep the memory of their service alive through events like the Police Unity Tour. Officer Bagley and I hope our participation in the Tour helps bring to light the sacrifice 173 Officers made serving our citizens - especially Maine Warden Daryl Gordon. He is ‘Gone But Not Forgotten.’”
Besides the bicycle tour commemorating those who have perished in the line of duty, the event also serves as a fundraiser for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum. Each rider contributes through sponsors a minimum of $1,700 to The Police Unity Tour. They in turn donate that money directly to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund according to Dyer. Since 1997 when the Policy Unity Tour began, the tour has raised over $7 million.
Dyer said he hopes this is just his first year of participating in the event.
“I hope to participate in the Tour year after year so long as I am physically able to do so. I’m not a ‘young’ officer anymore so this physical challenge will surely get tougher as each Tour passes. For now, I’m concentrating on this year’s ride. On May 13, I’ll start looking onward,” he said.
Once the bicyclists are off, viewers can track their progress online at http://www.greenalp.com/RealTimeTrackerfirstname.lastname@example.org&fs=1.
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