CAYUGA, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– With dozens of people inside, silence filled the Cayuga Community Center.
The people inside are remembering police officers who were killed in the line of duty. County Sheriff Mike Phelps said the issue hits home for group, Cycling for Survivors.
“These are some really dedicated individuals. They all have a connection themselves, but they are also raising money to help with survivor needs, or the loss of a law enforcement officer,” Phelps said.
The statewide organization is dedicated to remembering fallen law enforcement officers with an annual cycling trip around the state. They pay tribute to hundreds of officers who have passed in the state’s history.
On Sunday, the group woke up early to start their journey from Kentland to Terre Haute. The trip is about 100 miles, the longest the group endures during the 13-day campaign.
Justin Reeder, a detective in Porter County, is in his fifth year of participating in the campaign. He said the most impactful part for him was sharing memories of fallen officers with their family members.
“Interacting with the family members who have lost their officers, it’s heartwarming,” Reeder said. “They’re thanking us, which we should actually be thanking them for giving their sacrifice. The pain is still there everyday, but we just give them that glimmer that we still remember their officer.”
The group stopped in Cayuga at around noon. In attendance at the community center, were family members of Lou Beam, an officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2007. Phelps knew Beam and said days like today are important in the grieving process.
“I know that it stirs emotions each year that they do it. But I think it’s good emotions that their spouse has not been forgotten,” he said.
The group also made stops in Clay County and Vigo County. Tomorrow, they will ride down to Princeton. Reeder said he enjoys seeing Hoosiers come together for a good cause.
“We can’t survive without support from the community statewide,” he said. “Everything we do is on donations. Our meals are donated, we’re sleeping in gyms, we’re sleeping in churches, every dime that we raise gets put back to the survivors and scholarship funds and officer’s names.”