GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Twelve first responders lost their lives in the line of duty in Mississippi and our neighboring states. This week, more than 40 men and women are riding in their memory.
Patrick Davis is a member of the Houston Fire Department and is proud to be riding in this week’s event.
"EMS, police and fire that have ridden from Eunice, Louisiana, and they’re going to end up in Orange Beach, Alabama, to honor the fallen first responders in this Gulf Coast area over the last years,” Davis said.
The Houston firefighter went on to say that it’s important that the families of the fallen are remembered as well.
“We need to show the families and the community that you have to have people all over the country that don’t forget," Davis said. "We usually try to ride a year after the tragedy, so that just brings awareness back up that they’re part of our family now.”
Seeing the community support is what Davis said helps to keep them going.
“I think it brings the community together. When we rode through a small town in Louisiana, everybody was out raising flags," Davis said. "It just, you know, provides a pickup for us after a long day, and I think it shows what America is about too, that sense of community that you don’t see on the news everyday.”
Like too many others, the Baton Rouge Police Department felt the loss back in 2016. Swat Director JD Leach is on the ride to make sure that the fallen are never forgotten.
“These officers, firemen and EMS are recognized when they pass in the line of duty, but it’s quickly forgotten," Leach said. "We’re not going to let that happen. It’s important to never forget. We value their service and and we’re going to make sure that they’re never forgotten.”
The riders continue on in spans of 20 to 24 miles before each rest stop.