Texas first responders are riding across the state in memory of their fallen comrades and to honor their sacrifice.
The Texas Brotherhood Ride is a nonprofit made up of first responders who ride their bikes for hundreds of miles in honor of emergency personnel who have died in the line of duty.
This year, the group is riding to remember those who died last year.
“This year’s ride started in Texarkana on Sunday,” group member Rob Hyatt said. “We will finish in Houston on Friday. It’s roughly six days and 500 miles.”
The ride is in honor of the 32 Texas first responders who died in the line of duty in 2021.
Nancy Macdonald, wife of fallen Grand Prairie Officer Andrew Macdonald, is grateful for the organization’s work.
“He passed away last year, October 18, due to COVID,” she said. “It’s been amazing. They are a family, so they treat me like family. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Dominique Artis explained the importance of the ride.
“We always want to honor our fallen brothers and sisters,” Artis said. “It’s important that we don’t forget and always pay homage to them as well as their families.”
But it’s not only Texans who participated in the ride. Some riders even came from as far as Boston to join the journey.
As their motto is to never forget, riders even wore jerseys with the names of the four Dallas police officers ambushed and killed in 2016, in addition to the names of the three fallen Baton Rouge officers who were shot and killed in the same month.
“This jersey here goes all the way back to 2017,” East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Department Captain Craig Brouillette said. “We’re still honoring the 2017 Dallas and Baton Rouge.”
The tragedies in Dallas and Baton Rouge were the first to inspire the event.
Dallas Police Officer Scott Ash has been riding every year since.
“I love y’all so much for giving us this opportunity. For allowing us to meet you and really make that connection,” he said. “Because it means so much to all these guys because they’ve all lost friends and family.”
During their ride, the group stopped in Mesquite to present a plaque to the Mesquite Police Department in honor of Officer Richard Houston, who was shot and killed in December last year.
40-year-old Dallas Fire-Rescue Firefighter David Leos — who died from COVID last year — was also recognized.
“It’s been up and down, and this event came at the one-year anniversary,” his widow said. “I’m very honored that David’s name is being kept.”