CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Hundreds of area motorcycle riders hit the road Sunday. But, it was not just for the fun of it. This ride had a purpose -– to show that fallen police officers are not forgotten.
The 6th annual Cops Ride began with a solemn ceremony at the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial in Downtown Cleveland.
Hundreds of people paused to remember the police officers who dedicated their careers and risked their lives to protect and serve the public and made the ultimate sacrifice.
“One law enforcement professional is killed somewhere in America on average every 58 hours. That's 150 law enforcement professionals killed in the line of duty each and every year,” said Craig Floyd, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Sandra Gresko said the hardest day of her life was telling her young daughter, Olivia, that her dad wasn't coming home. Willoughby Police Officer Jason Gresko was killed in a crash in September of 2012.
"He was responding to a call to help a fellow officer in need. He swerved to miss a truck driven by a drunk driver. Jason hit a tree and died immediately," she said.
The Cops Ride serves as a promise to never forget the fallen officers and the gratitude owed their loved ones left behind.
"We are still out here supporting them for the cause because they are officers and they protect us,” Ernest Gravs of Cleveland said.
An estimated 700 motorcyclists joined in the cops ride on a 40-mile journey to honor and remember fallen officers. Riders donated $20 to participate. The goal was to raise $10,000 for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington DC.
"Olivia has a place to honor her Dad. She knows in D.C. Jason's name is inscribed on a wall for officers who have been killed in the line of duty. To Olivia, it's her memory that she has a Dad,” Gresko said.