BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A dozen men and women in Baton Rouge are training for an 800-mile, 8-day ride with the names of 11 fallen first responders fixed on their backs.
This group of local officers and sheriff's deputies are preparing for the Texas Brotherhood Ride from New Orleans to San Antonio, from May 27th to June 3rd.
The Texas Brotherhood Ride started in 2008 in Houston, Texas to provide emotional and financial support to the families of fallen first responders. The Texas Brotherhood Ride Committee has donated over $40,000 in the last two years to families in need.
This is the second year in a row Louisiana has been asked to participate in the ride to honor fallen heroes, but this is the first time Tim Browning with the Baton Rouge Police Department saddled up for the mission.
"When I first started training, I was like what did I get into. They were dragging me along, I was struggling," Browning said.
However, after weeks of grueling training, Browning said he's up to the task for his brothers in blue, "I think I'm ready and looking forward to it."
In 2017, Texas and Louisiana combined lost 11 first responders including, Lt. Shawn Anderson with East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. This year's ride is for them.
Second-time participant, Lt. Craig Brouillette with EBRSO said through the tough days of training, remembering the mission keeps him going.
"When I see a name like Mike Louviere, I'm not going to quit because I see those names and they sacrificed for us," Lt. Brouillette said. "I continue going just for them."
Just as the fallen sacrificed their lives daily for those they didn't know, the last 50 miles of the 800-mile ride across two states will include 18 civilian riders giving back the best way they know how.
"This ride is just a small piece of our appreciation and I think it brings the whole community together," said Felicia Morris, civilian rider. "We will never forget, and we are here to support you for the long haul."
Organizers said they plan to ride next year to honor fallen Deputy Chief Christopher Lawton of the Zachary Fire Department.
The ride will include 31 law enforcement and firemen cyclists.
The fallen first responders being honored are:
- Mike Louviere – Westwego Police Department
- Spencer Chauvin – St. John Fire Department
- Shawn Anderson – East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office
- Shannon Brown – Fenton Police Department
- Clint Greenwood – Harris County Precinct 3
- Endy Nddiobong Ekpanya – Pearland Police Department
- Bill “Iron Bill” Dowling – Houston Fire Department
- Steven Whitfield – Houston Fire Department
- Steve Perez – Houston Police Department
- Scott Deem – San Antonio Fire Department
- Miguel Moreno – San Antonio Police Department