GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Some of South Mississippi’s finest set of wheels revved up their engines down Highway 90 on Sunday for Lt. Michael Boutte, who was killed in the line of duty on Feb. 1.
“It’s the only thing we could think of, being that we are active in the car scene and he was active in the car scene,” rider Steven Smith said.
The cruise was organized by Those Who Serve, a Facebook group made up of veterans and first responders who support South Mississippi police officers through volunteer work and events.
The organizers held a cruise for the fallen deputy starting from Jones Park and ending in Bay St. Louis, selling raffle tickets before cars pulled out toward the highway. Organizers said the funds went to Boutte’s memorial fund so that the deputy’s impact and legacy continues to live on throughout South Mississippi.
“We came together and thought it would be a great way to honor him,” Kristopher Saccurato said.
While the event was for Lt. Michael Boutte, it was also a way to show appreciation for other law enforcement agents.
“We as an automotive community, a community as a whole, appreciate what you do,” Saccurato said.
Organizers encouraged people to give thanks daily to law enforcement officers.
“Not just the times,” Saccurato said. “Sadly, they have to give the ultimate sacrifice.”
They also want others to continue to show their Southern hospitality.
“People do still support them and thank them for everything that they do,” Smith said.
For people who could not make the cruise this year, organizers hope to make it an annual event and hopefully grow it each year.
If you would like to make a donation, a memorial fund for Lt. Boutte is set up at Hancock Whitney Bank.