C.O.P.S. Memorial Ride from Visalia to Fresno County

April 7, 2013 12:56:20 AM PDT
Friends and family members of fallen Central Valley fire fighters and law enforcement officers met in the South Valley Saturday morning to ride in honor of loved ones. Concerns of Police Survivors hosted the 10th annual C.O.P.S. Memorial Ride. The event takes motor bikers from Visalia to the Fresno County foothills to raise money for funeral costs of fallen heroes and support services for their families.

The sounds of loud engines filled the air around the Visalia Harley-Davidson dealership as more than 700 bikers checked in for the ride. "It's great, everybody's enthusiastic. Everybody loves to ride," said Terri Baker, a spouse of a CHP officer.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer kicked off the morning event as riders from all over the Valley hopped on their bikes and took off on Highway 99. "It's always good to see people like today come out and support this cause," said Dyer.

Many of the riders work in law enforcement or are family members of officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. "It just helps to know there are other families out there that are dealing with a loss and it's a really great unit of people that help get through that loss," said Tyree Bonner. Her family was on hand to pay tribute to Sgt. Greg Hernandez, a deputy who served the Tulare County Sherriff's department for 25 years. "He was en route to help some of his fellow officers, there was an accident," said Bonner.

Hernandez was responding to a call in January of 2009 when he fatally collided with a truck. His memory lives on thanks to event like COPS that draw attention from other drivers.

Along the 92 mile journey, bikers made several stops before finishing at Millerton Lake. Organizers say they were able to raise more than $24,000.