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Motorcycle ride honors record number of fallen first responders in Arizona

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 8:50 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 16, 2021 at 9:54 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - More than 80 motorcyclists rode through Tucson Saturday in an annual memorial ride to honor those who have lost their lives as Arizona sees a rapid increase in deaths among first responders.

Arizona Fallen Hero Memorial Riders President Terry Johnson said the yearly ride is meant to honor the many sacrifices made by police officers, firefighters and all people who put their lives at risk in their line of work.

“The EMS, along with the highway zone workers and tow truck drivers. I’m retired from DPS. When we had a catastrophe on the highway, who came out with us to clean it up? It was those guys,” Johnson said.

The organization said Arizona has lost a record-number of 45 first responders this year. Eighteen of them were lost in the past two weeks. Some died in the line of duty, from COVID, cancer or suicide.

Justin Shield attended the motorcycle ride, and said his brother was a Customs and Border Patrol officer. His brother passed away in January due to COVID. Shield had many emotions as he watched the motorcycles go by.

“A little emotional because it kind of reminded me back of the services just the procession after procession,” he said.

Shield said the motorcycle was an incredible way to honor his brother’s life and all other lives lost.

“Let them know how much they’re cared for and that their brother, sister, spouse or child, that they’re not forgotten. We will continue to ride in their memorial and remember them every year,“ said Kelley Meshirer, the southern community liaison for the 100 Club of Arizona.

The ride also aimed to show appreciation for those still serving.

“We’re here to memorialize the fallen but we’re also here to support the ones who are still out there working every day,” Johnson said. “To show there are people who support you.”

Arizona Fallen Hero Memorial Riders held a Prescott ride in September and will have another in Phoenix next month. The organization is working with the 100 Club to raise money for injured first responders and families who have lost their loved ones.

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