A group of motorcyclists from across the country remember two Lee County Sheriff’s officers and state troopers who died.
The End of Watch Ride to Remember is a moving memorial. The aim is to honor members of law enforcement who have died in the line of duty and to ensure that no officer is forgotten.
Each year the group travels to different states and on Monday they came to Lee County. The trip began in Spokane, Washington, in early June. Paying tribute to Lee County Sheriff Sergeant Steven Mazzotta and Deputy First Class William Diaz. Also pay tribute to Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Pingry.
“It’s special, you know, everyone you see wearing a uniform, whether it’s a trooper or a Lee County deputy, has been sworn to protect and serve,” said Lt. Greg Bueno of the Florida Highway Patrol.
“Brian excelled. And when he got here, he was kind of like this father figure to a lot of young soldiers,” Bueno said.
Whether they are a wife, husband, child or parent, they appreciate everything this group represents because it is special to so many people. Laura Pingry, seen below, enjoyed the soldiers who stood beside her after the memorial.
“It’s emotional, when the first truck first came out, I kind of, you know, got a little smothered,” Pingry said. “It’s an amazing thing they’ve done for all the officers. And all through the years that they’ve done that. Pingry placed a rose next to her late husband’s photo.
“I kind of touched the photo to let him know I’m with him, and I know he’s still with me,” Pingry said.
Jagrut Shah founded the “End of Watch Ride to Remember”. He explained that he did it because it gave families a chance to say I love you again.
“They get one last chance, they get another chance to say, hey, we still love you,” Shah said. “They get recognition. They are also told by us as well as by everyone else. We will not forget your loved one and we kept our promise.
The group covers more than 23,000 miles this summer and ends on Wednesday August 17 in Washington. Click here to see the rest of their schedule.
“I wanted to make sure the families knew they weren’t going to be forgotten, and that the department let them know they were hurt,” Shah said. “And what they’re feeling isn’t just in their city, county or state, it’s actually nationwide.”
Beyond the Call of Duty also raises funds to support security and law enforcement training. The hope is to reduce the number of dead officers we see each year.