Tour of Duty ride comes to D.C.
Two dozen cyclists are pedaling their way across the country to honor ''our fallen'' heroes.
Their Tour of Duty journey began in San Diego nearly a month ago—this afternoon, they rolled into our area.
This is no ordinary bike ride.
The 24 cyclists are half Americans and half Australian—united in their call of duty. They are all first responders—pedaling more than 2,600 miles together in memory of the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom.
“The value and the importance of it is hard to measure,” said Lt. Robert Wills of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
“Being a firefighter…going to work every day, you know that there's risk and luckily I haven't been injured, but to see the sacrifices that other people have made, it's just what I can do to show respect and honor those people,” said Betsy Cionca, a Peoria, Arizona Firefighter-Paramedic.
Cionca continued that spirit of honor while rolling into our nation’s capital Thursday. She and her group put their cross-country trek on pause—parking their bikes in front of the Imo Jima Memorial in Arlington.
“As we get to a lot of these memorials that also definitely touches our hearts and it hits home for us and what this event is truly about,” she said.
The Tour of Duty Ride" kicked into gear mid-August in San Diego. Riders traveled through several major cities—en route to New York City for the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
For Michael Varker of the Australian Federal Police, the journey holds special significance.
“I've got two older brothers in the military. One in the Navy. One in the Army. My oldest brother fought in Vietnam and as a result of that he contracted cancer through Agent Orange and he died about two years ago so it's pretty special for me to be here and honor the family,” Varker said.
In doing so, he's building a new "extended" family—a brotherhood of riders—from two nations, driven for peace.
The group is also committed to charity. Riders are raising money for the Wounded Warrior project, as well as families who've lost loved ones in the line of duty.
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