The Brotherhood Ride is comprised of firefighters, emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officers. They ride bicycles each year to honor first responders who died in the line of duty. They ride to show communities, families, friends and coworkers that the heroes will not be forgotten. This year they are riding 9 days to honor the 19 firefighters that lost their lives in the line of duty last year.
On Tuesday afternoon 34 riders and their support staff stopped in Italy to honor Greg Pickard, who lost his life in the life of duty with the Bryan Fire Department. Greg’s parents, Bob and Carla Pickard were on hand to welcome and thank the riders.
“It is wonderful that the Brotherhood Ride is honoring Greg and other firefighters in this manner,” said Bob. “Greg was one of the best men I ever knew. It is good to see our community come together to honor him. Carla and I appreciate Carol Soukup getting everyone here today.”
When Greg died, Carol Wolaver Soukup became a facebook friend of the Bryan Fire Department.
“The department mentioned that one of their firefighters was riding in honor of Greg.” said Soukup. “I looked at their route and saw they were riding from Dallas to West so I contacted Candy Morse to let her know that Greg’s parents lived here. I wanted to try to coordinate them stopping in Italy. I am so glad it worked out.”
This year the group is riding from Florida to Houston. When they left Italy, they rode to West to honor the firefighters that died in the line of duty last year. After spending the night in West, they will continue their ride to Bryan and end in Houston.
Adam Mysiuk is one of the support staff this year from the Pompano Beach Fire Rescue Department.
“Two years ago one of my fellow firefighters died in the line of duty,” said Mysiuk. “I participate because it is very important to tell the families that their family members that died in the line of duty will never be forgotten. This is my third year with the Brotherhood Ride. I rode the first year and have been support staff the last two years. This is very important to me,” he added.
On June 18, 2007, nine members of the Charleston, South Carolina Fire Department perished in the line of duty. A group of the North Naples, Florida firefighters decided they wanted to help the families so they created the Brotherhood Ride to raise money and honor fallen firefighters.
The riders honor heroes by riding bicycles from Florida to the hero’s hometown. Their mission is to provide emotional and financial support to the families of emergency responders who have died in the line of duty.
Mayor James Hobbs was on hand to welcome the riders and staff. He worked with one of this years riders while he was with the Houston Fire Department.
“We are honored to have the Brotherhood Riders honor Greg Pickard this year,” Hobbs said. “I want to thank the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department, the Italy Police Department and the Italy Fire Department for their assistance today. I also want to thank our city employees and the community for their participation today. I appreciate Teri Murdoch presenting the riders, support staff and those in attendance with city lapel pens.”
For more information on the Brotherhood Ride go to www.brotherhoodride.com .