Every year, thousands of people gather in Washington D.C. for the Police Unity Tour, a 300-plus mile bike ride to honor officers across the country who have fallen in the line of duty.
A group of officers from East Tennessee have joined forces to ride together in May to honor Kenny Moats, the Maryville police officer whose end of watch was Aug. 25, 2016.
"We are doing this for Kenny Moats," said Lt. Tammy DeBow of the Knoxville Police Department. "We are doing this for his family, in honor and memory of him."
Lt. Debow and Paige Craig, a reserve officer with the Blount County Sheriff's Office, have been training several days a week together to prepare for the big ride.
"I know that it’s going to be very emotional," Craig said. "I don’t really know what to expect. I’m excited and I’m nervous. I’ve never rode my bike 340 miles over four days. We just hope we can sit down after this."
Officer Moats was a friend and a family member to both Craig and DeBow.
"It’s going to be difficult," DeBow said. "Kenny was married to my niece Brittany and was a wonderful husband, wonderful son, wonderful father to his three beautiful children. I’m going to be thinking about them every single day."
She said every pedal will be in honor of Officer Moats and the 113 other officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2016.
"I may be sore, I may be tired, but that’s very little compared to what Kenny gave," DeBow said. "Every time you put on a badge and the gun, and you leave for your shift that day, you don’t know if you are coming home. I’m sure he thought of that. They got the call and I’ll never forget it, so this is simple. This is easy for us to do."
Each individual has to raise a minimum of $1,850 to participate in the ride. The East Tennessee team has raised just shy of $40,000 to date.
The team plans to leave Sunday from McGhee Tyson Airport to Washington D.C. They plan on sharing their progress along the way on their Facebook page.