05/12/10 — Officers riding 100 counties to honor fallen comrades

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Officers riding 100 counties to honor fallen comrades

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on May 12, 2010 1:46 PM

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Law enforcement officers from Wayne and other counties take part in a 100-county ride to honor officers who have died in the line of duty. Project Lifesaver's Specialized Task Force stopped at the fallen officers' memorial at Wayne Community College early today before taking off for their next stop in Clinton.

A convoy of motorcyclists on a nine-day ride through all of North Carolina's 100 counties passed through Wayne County today, a gathering of solidarity and remembrance for law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

"We want to remember that this is for all of our fallen officers, all of the people who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," Sheriff Carey Winders said at the memorial to fallen officers at Wayne Community College this morning.

After making mention of his fallen friend, Capt. Jerry Best, who was killed in 2002 when he was struck by a car while trying to remove a dead deer from a highway, Winders talked about the inherent danger of being a law enforcement officer. He also talked about what an officer must do to be prepared to face danger.

"We know that when you approach a car, if that man or woman or person inside has a gun in their lap, the officer is not going to have the time to pull his service weapon. We know that," the sheriff said.

Winders said for that reason, he advises his officers to live each day as if it were their last, and to hold themselves to the highest ethical standards.

"That's why I advise everyone, since we live a life of danger, to have your life and your soul in order," Winders said.

Winders was then presented a certificate by Gregg Pratt, chief of Project Lifesaver's Specialized Task Force, which is sponsoring the ride.

Riders were headed to Clinton after the ceremony.

Five Wayne County Sheriff's Office riders, Patrol Capt. Dwayne Edwards, Lt. Sherwood Day, Lt. Ray Brogden, Sgt. Richard Blizzard and Cpl. Darryl Carlyle, were taking part in the trip's next leg.

Before this morning's ceremony, Edwards gave a nod to the event's purpose.

"It's out of respect for them, our fallen officers, not only those who have died in the line of duty, but all the former officers that have passed away."

Daly echoed Edwards' and Winders' words.

"They've given the ultimate sacrifice is about the best way to put it, and it's something that each of us know that we face each day we come to work. We're faced with it. It could happen."

Literature provided by the Project Lifesaver Specialized Team said the Avery County Sheriff's Office played the chief role in organizing the ride, which is following a crisscrossing pattern all around the state.

"Please let me make this absolutely clear to all of you. This ride is for you and your families, the men and women o f law enforcement who put your lives on the line each and every day for the people of North Carolina," Pratt said.