|SPRINGFIELD -— Scores of officers, their families, friends, and supporters will gather in Downer’s Grove, Dwight, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, and Carlinville to ride together to honor the fallen and raise funds for the State Police Memorial Park. |
The Motorcycle and Fun Ride roll call starts on Saturday, July 30, and riders are expected to gather throughout the state of Illinois for a memorial ride to raise funds for the Illinois State Police(ISP)Memorial Park.
ISP Director Hiram Grau will greet the riders before the 9:30 a.m. departure at ISP District 15, 2700 Ogden Avenue in Downer’s Grove, and 1st Deputy Director Jack Garcia will lead the Motorcycle and Fun Car Run from Downer’s Grove to the FOP Lodge in Springfield.
Rain or shine, the police-escorted riders will leave from several locations around the state and make its final stop at the ISP FOP Lodge 41 in Springfield. Riders will also be escorted by “Rescue Riders” who are medical professionals and first responders riding alongside to handle any unexpected medical emergencies.
Since the 1.5 acre park was donated to the Illinois State Police in September of 2007, plans have been underway to build a memorial dedicated to honoring the lives and memories of the fallen heroes of the ISP. More than 60 ISP officers have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect the citizens of Illinois. The new memorial, when constructed, will serve as a place of consolation and comfort for those who have lost a family member or friend. It will also serve as a public gathering to remember the fallen heroes.
The memorial focuses on three core values and the honor associated with these values. The theme features a sequence of experiences which gives the visitor a glimpse into the path of service of an ISP Officer. “Having dedicated a career of more than 30 years in law enforcement, I can think of no other cause more important than supporting a memorial park to honor our uniformed heroes who risk their lives with integrity, service and pride,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.
“This ride honors their commitment to service and the families who stand beside them knowing they have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Grau added.
Last year, 14 specialty baskets were donated by work units within the ISP organization to support the fundraising efforts. More than $5,000 was raised and the fundraising committee expects to double its efforts this year. So far, 31 specialty baskets filled with a variety of unique and assorted gift items have been donated.
“The Illinois State Police Memorial Foundation has done a great job raising funds for this memorial and our Annual Motorcycle and Fun Car Ride encourages everyone to get involved and have fun for an honorable cause,” said 1st Deputy Director Jack Garcia, who also serves as an ISP Memorial Committee Co-Chair. “Once completed, this memorial and park will serve as a tribute to every Illinois State Police fallen officer, and to those who carry on the fine tradition of service each and every day,” Garcia added.
After the memorial is paid for, the foundation will shift its mission and raise money to cover the costs of medical bills and other needs of officers who receive catastrophic injuries on the job.
The memorial was designed by Knight Engineers & Architects in collaboration with the Illinois State Police and Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation.
Riders can still register on line at http://ispmp2011.eventbrite.com. All proceeds will benefit the Illinois State Police Memorial Park.
Those interested in contributing can find out more about the memorial and the foundation at www.ISPHF.org, or call 217-525-1922.