Even as the fatigue and sore muscles kicked in, Harker Heights Police Officer Clyde Hicks dug deep and pedaled on.
Passing the names of fallen officers posted alongside the roadway was the fuel his team needed to finish strong May 12.
Hicks, one of the members of Team Hornsby, participated in his second Policy Unity Tour on May 10-12.
Members of the team rode 250 miles from Portsmouth, Va., to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., as part of the three-day tour.
“Once you do it and realize what you are riding for, it makes an impact on you and you just want to keep doing it,” he said. “The last two days are the hardest, but when you feel like you can’t go any further you see the names of the fallen officers and realize the small pain you feel is nothing compared to what the families have endured.”
Team members included Kimberly Hornsby, Killeen police officers Chris Ache and Amanda Holtzclaw, Killeen Detective Neal Holtzclaw and Lt. Reese Davis.
The team rode in honor of Hornsby’s husband, Killeen Police Department veteran Robert “Bobby” Hornsby, 32, who was killed in the line of duty July 14 when the SWAT team responded to a disturbance at an apartment complex. This year, in addition to honoring him, the team rode with heavy hearts for 18-year veteran of the Killeen Police Department, Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, 47. He was fatally wounded while he and other members of the SWAT team served a narcotics search warrant May 9. He died May 11.
“The ride was a lot tougher emotionally,” he said about getting the news unfolding in Killeen. “We came together as a team and prayed. Our focus was to support Kim and honor Bobby.”
During his first ride, Hicks represented Brazos County Constable Brian Bachmann, 41, who was gunned down near Texas A&M University in College Station last year.
This year he also rode in honor of Bell County Deputy Sheriff Adam Davis, 36, who died Dec. 10.
The six-person team was tasked with raising $12,000, or $2,000 per rider — and raised more than $19,000.
“We want to raise as much money for the nonprofit organization as we can,” Hicks said. “It started in 1997 to bring awareness for the fallen officers that lost their lives in the line of duty.”
The tour also raises funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum.
Hicks began participating in long biking events last year, and he logged 1,500 miles in preparation for this year’s trek.
Team Hornsby was joined by 175 riders from the Florida chapter at the starting line. The group made their way towards the nation’s capitol, where they met up with seven other Police Unity Tour chapters, 1,800 law enforcement personnel strong, before stopping at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
“I’ve been blessed to be able to pay my respects to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” he said. “It seems to me that as time goes on their names start to fade away and their memories are just that, so this is a way to keep their memories of officers alive.”
The team will ride in honor of Dinwiddie next year and will start their fundraising efforts in September. For more information, search “Police Unity Tour-Team Texas” on Facebook.