More CCSO presence than ever and blog updates to make Collier County residents back home feel like they’re part of the action.
That’s what’s up for this year’s Police Unity Tour.
Eleven current and former agency members will participate in the 250-mile bicycle ride. That’s up from five last year. Throughout the event CCSO members and Unity Tour participants Krista Williamson and John Peabody will be posting updates to the Collier Star e-newsletter.
The Police Unity Tour is a 250-mile, three-day bicycle ride that begins in Portsmouth, Va., and ends in Washington, D.C., at the memorial. The goal of the event is to honor law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and raise money for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in the nation’s capital.
The ride takes place May 10-12. The event ends with an emotional candlelight ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 13.
CCSO members attribute this year’s spike in agency participation to two things: the contagious enthusiasm of veteran CCSO participants and the tragic July 18, 2008, shooting death of Fort Myers Police Officer Andrew Widman.
“That was very close to home for many of us,” SWAT Cpl. Matt Macera said of Officer Widman’s death. “We felt this was something we could do to recognize his sacrifice.”
This year is the fourth time around for Krista Williamson, a training coordinator in IT, and her husband, General Crimes Sgt. Mark Williamson. Krista Williamson is looking forward to blogging along the route to give Collier County residents a feel for what’s happening.
“I always tell people – if you can experience this event just once you’ll understand the magnitude of it,” she said. “I hope these on-scene updates will give our community a taste of what this event is all about. It’s truly amazing.”
Macera said he feels he has trained adequately for the ride, much of which spans hilly terrain. The thing he’s looking forward to the most is the candlelight vigil, which is a poignant ceremony attended by the families of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
“I’m an emotional guy,” Macera said. “I look forward to experiencing the outpouring of love and caring the law enforcement community has for one another.”
Participants are divided into two categories: riders and support. Riders pedal the route; while members of the support team keep cyclists supplied with drinks and food to keep them hydrated and healthy along the route. Support team members also take care of an array of pre-event tasks like ordering supplies and lining up accommodations along the route.
And all participants – whether they ride or support – must raise a minimum of $1,800. Anyone wishing to make a contribution can donate online at www.firstgiving.com/teamcollier.
Click here to see a slide show Team Collier made during the 2007 Police Unity Tour.
And to read the team’s blog posts during the ride go to colliersheriff.org and click on the button that says Collier Star.
The CCSO contingent is made up of:
Krista Williamson, IT training coordinator (support)
Sgt. Mark Williamson (rider)
Cpl. Alison Disarro (rider)
Cpl. Anthony Disarro (rider)
Cpl. Matt Macera (rider)
Former CCSO member Jessica Macera (support)
Cpl. Dan Darren (support)
Cpl. Bruce Cordivari (rider)
John Peabody, GIS coordinator (support)
Cpl. Bob Nixon (rider)
Sgt. Darren Larson (rider)
CCSO members take a practice ride in Collier County before last year's police unity tour. Photo by Natalie Felber/CCSO