Stories: July 2004 Archives

Bikers fill up scholarship tank

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This story from the Akron Beacon Journal is a little late, but worth sharing...

Hundreds ride to help raise funds for fallen officers' kids

By Elbert Starks III

Beacon Journal staff writer

The roar of hundreds of motorcycles would normally be enough to elicit a few concerned calls to the police department.

On Sunday afternoon, however, hundreds of motorcyclists were mingling with Akron and Cleveland police officers during the fifth annual Police Memorial Motorcycle Run, a scholarship fund-raiser for children of officers killed in the line of duty.

The rally came to Akron, where more than 800 bikes parked along several blocks of South High Street near the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center.

Robert Beck, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, estimated about 1,200 people -- officers and civilians -- rode in the procession.

At a cost of $30 for a single rider and $40 for two, the money raised is enough to provide for generous donations to the scholarship funds, officials said.

``I do it to support our fallen brothers,'' said rally rider Charles Curry of Cleveland.

Curry, who has been riding motorcycles for 20 years, owns a Harley-Davidson Road King. He has participated in all five memorial rallies and said he is honored to do so, though logging the 100 miles can be a bit grueling at times.

``It means a lot to come out and support the families of those who have lost someone,'' Curry said. ``It's draining -- that sun, then all of the heat off the bikes, it drains you. At the end of the day... well, everyone will be able to sleep tonight.''

The rally procession began in Warrensville Heights in eastern Cuyahoga County, then headed south toward Akron and back north, ending in Parma. Veteran musician George Thorogood was scheduled to perform later in the evening in honor of the rally participants.

Andy Ezzo, president of the Greater Cleveland Police Scholarship Fund, presented Akron Police Chief Michael T. Matulavich with a check for $2,500 during the rally, which featured the Akron Police Department's Honor Guard. The money will be used to pay the expenses of keeping the memorial flame in front of the justice center lighted at all times.

In his remarks to the crowd, Matulavich said the rally provided an opportunity to create friendships, camaraderie and support between officers and the community. He also reminded the audience to ``never forget the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.''

After the rally, Matulavich said he was pleased that the event continued to grow.

``We cannot recognize our fallen officers enough,'' he said. ``The people who are doing this aren't ordinary, they're extraordinary. They're raising money for scholarships for the sons and daughters of those who have fallen. That's a great cause.''

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This page is a archive of entries in the Stories category from July 2004.

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