SCRANTON — A special bike ride to honor those in law enforcement killed in the line of duty pedaled its way into Scranton on Wednesday.
The ride is stopping in communities along the way to meet families of the fallen, and on this day that was the parents of a corrections officer killed last year in Wayne County.
Lackawanna County law enforcement and their sirens guided in pedaling police officers, sheriff’s deputies and more from all over the country.
This is the “Road to Hope” from Maine to Washington D.C. and the ride took a little break at the Scranton Police Department after 100 miles in the morning.
“A lot of hills, a lot of hills and mountains. We’re hurting.”
But the hurt is for a reason. The group “Law Enforcement United” rides to show this is a family that honors brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“It’s emotional. I lost a friend in 2011. That’s why I do this,” said Berks County Deputy Sheriff Keith Neiswender.
At most stops, the riders meet with families who lost law enforcement loved ones. Here they met Don and Jean Williams from Nanticoke.
Their son, corrections officer Eric Williams, was killed by an inmate at the federal prison near Waymart last year.
“I think it’s actually the thing that keeps me going, to know that these people care and continue to do that,” said Don Williams.
Some who ride can relate; they lost family members, too.
Crystal Peterson rides for her uncle.
“It’s amazing for me to be with all these other officers who are willing to do this in his memory and all of their friend’s memories,” said Peterson.
“When they talk to you, you know you’re connecting to someone who actually understands what you’re going through and that’s very meaningful,” said Williams.
At a short ceremony, the Williams were honored and thanked for their sacrifice, but they are grateful, too.
“They’re really a brotherhood which today really emphasizes,” said Jean Williams. “They’ve been there from the very beginning for us and continue to be there and they’ve become our second family.”
The Road to Hope ride will get to Washington in time for the annual services at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial next week.
The ride is also raising money to send children of fallen officers to a special summer camp.