MARLBORO – Members of the Marlboro Police Department are raising money that will fund officers’ participation in the 22nd annual Police Unity Tour in May. The participants will ride bicycles from New Jersey to a national memorial in Washington, D.C.
In 1997, the Police Unity Tour was organized by Officer Patrick P. Montoure of the Florham Park Police Department to bring public awareness to police officers who died in the line of duty and to honor those individuals.
The event kicked off with 18 riders participating in a four-day fundraising bicycle ride from Florham Park, Morris County, to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The officers’ effort raised $18,000.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected the Police Unity Tour to be the sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Museum Hall of Remembrance. To date, the tour has raised more than $22 million for the memorial.
More than a dozen Marlboro police officers will be part of a group of 23 law enforcement officers who will ride to Washington, D.C. They will be joined by representatives of the Freehold Borough, Aberdeen Township and Howell police departments, and by Monmouth County corrections officers.
Each officer is responsible for raising $2,025 in order to participate. The money will cover accommodations, food and an application fee. Organizers said $1,000 of the amount raised will go to the memorial.
“We try to (raise the money) collectively. We have done T-shirt sales, raffles, wristbands, gala events and wine tastings,” Marlboro Police Sgt. Nicholas Szymanski said. “This year we are holding a raffle, selling T-shirts and asking for donations from businesses and individuals.”
The raffle will be held at the Fireside Grill and Bar, Route 79, Marlboro, at 8 p.m. April 12. Tickets are $20 each and there will be five prizes of $2,500 or 10 percent of the money collected.
The Marlboro Police Department is part of Chapter 10 of the Police Unity Tour. The department’s representatives are Sgt. Nicholas Szymanski, Detective Jill Borowsky (retired), Capt. Fred Reck, Lt. Christie McKenna, Sgt. Gerald Arminio, Sgt. John Bise, Sgt. Andrew Goldberg, Detective Eric Hayes, Detective Anthony Peterpaul, Patrolman David Taglietta, Officer Bernadette Peter, Officer Kelly Drum, Special Law Enforcement Officer Class II Phil Campo and dispatcher Paul Lorenz.
The riders will leave for Washington, D.C., on May 9 and arrive on May 13 for the annual candlelight vigil during which the names of fallen officers from the last year will be added to the memorial.
“Over time, we have grown to understand the true meaning of the ride and we appreciate the wall and the service we do in Washington, D.C., every year,” Szymanski said. “We make sure we memorialize and remember the officers from different parts of the state and country who died in the line of duty.”
Szymanski said each officer wears a blue memorial wrist band that has the name of a fallen officer.
“It is part of the healing process for the officers’ families and those who have lost somebody and it’s a good way of keeping their memory alive,” he said. “Our motto is ‘We ride for those who died.’ I have 20 or 30 bracelets for officers I have ridden for and memorialized through the ride. Every time we go on the ride, it is amazing how close we get to knowing somebody who has been taken from us in the line of duty.”
Szymanski said monetary donations to support the Police Unity Tour are welcome, as are supplies such as cases of Gatorade and water. For more information or to donate, visit http://www.policeunitytourchapter10.com/