8th Annual Officer Down Memorial Ride Raises Money to Commemorate Fallen Officers

| May 8, 2019 | 0 Comments | Community

Riders park their motorcycles back at the QBE parking lot in Haymarket.

Hundreds of Motorcyclists, police, military, Northern Virginia residents and their families gathered for the 8th Annual Officer Down Memorial Ride, Saturday, April 27, at the QBE building grounds in Haymarket.

Meg Hawkins of Haymarket, founder of the nonprofit Make Everything Good, organized the 60-mile scenic motorcycle ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains to support the Officer Down Memorial Page. 

The ride and festival raised $54,000 through registration fees, vendors, raffles, sponsorships by local businesses and donations from individuals. Over the past 8 years, they have raised over $250,000.

The event has been so successful in part because it includes a family-friendly festival event, featuring live music, vendors, food, raffles, motorcycle demonstration, a beer garden and a kids area. Additionally, word has spread through the motorcycle community that it is a fun, relaxing ride for a good cause. 

Officer Down Memorial Page

The Officer Down Memorial Page is the nation’s premier website featuring police officer memorials. The page features bios, obituaries, and memories friends and family share about fallen officers from all over the nation. It also reports on incidents of newly fallen officers.

In 2018, there were 144 fallen officers in the United States. 

In addition to using funds to operate the page, which memorializes fallen officers, donations also go towards denying parole to cop killers and saving lives through training and free vest partnerships.

Riders return from their tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Chris Cosgrill, Herndon resident and Fairfax Police Officer, created the Officer Down Memorial Page in 1996 while he was still in college. Cosgrill, who was interested in law enforcement, said he wanted to “give back as a thank you to all the sacrifices they had made for us.”

The ride is one of two major fundraising events for ODMP through the year. The other is a 5K “Run to Remember” in Washington, D.C. held on May 11 during Police Week. That run not only supports the memorial page but also Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization that hosts free retreats, seminars and counseling for families of fallen officers.

Cosgrill was thankful for the turnout.

“It’s amazing to see,” said Cogrill. He was especially touched to see so many supporters of police officers, who are not law enforcement families themselves. He thought the Haymarket/Gainesville community was very supportive as were motorcycle clubs and recreational riders.

Riders and Supporters

Attendees frequent vendors at the ODMR event.

Paul Dooley, a member of the Haymarket chapter of the riding club ‘Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association.’ 

He rode in memory of Todd Bahr, a friend who was killed in the line of duty on June 6, 2008 in Fredericksburg, Va. Dooley said there are 15 in his riding group and many are retired or current law enforcement officers.

Vickie Sullivan of Fredericksburg said she looks forward to the ride each year. “It’s one of my favorite rides. First, it goes towards a good cause, and I have a lot of friends who are police officers.”

The event is also attracting new riders such as Justin Roth, 26, of Herndon,.

“It’s scenic country roads, very relaxing. It’s something fun to do with friends, and it’s for a good cause,” Roth said.

State Farm’s Support

Anita Sadlack, State Farm Agent at the Officer Down Memorial Ride in Haymarket, April 27, 2019.

QBE [Quality Business Engineering] owner, Shawn Landry, donated the property for the day and served as lead sponsor. Anita Sadlack’s State Farm Agency in Gainesville sponsored the kids’ area and the Haymarket Police Department was another major sponsor.

Anita Sadlack’s State Farm Agency in Gainesville often gives back to worthy community causes. Since her office manager’s husband is a Haymarket Police Officer, police, firefighters and military are “near and dear to our hearts.”

Her State Farm Agency will be supporting Meg Hawkin’s Making Everything Good nonprofit organization this May. Making Everything Good’s mission is to assist and support the needs of individuals, families and organizations associated with public safety, military, veterans and the local community.”

 By mentioning “Making Everything Good,” when requesting a quote this month, Sadlack’s State Farm Agency will donate $10 to the nonprofit. 

If the fundraiser is successful, Sadlack plans on featuring one or two nonprofits per month. 

Readers can visit her Anita Sadlack State Farm Agent Facebook page to find out which nonprofit they will be supporting, and the nonprofits will also be spreading the word. 

Visit the Officer Down Memorial Page, to make a donation. 

© 2019, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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