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Fallen Officers Honored Through Police Unity Tour

(Photo by Joy Bonala) Abilene Law Enforcement Officer Joshua Ward will be riding 300 miles during this week's Police Unity Tour starting Monday, May 9, 2016.
(Photo by Joy Bonala) Abilene Law Enforcement Officer Joshua Ward will be riding 300 miles during this week's Police Unity Tour starting Monday, May 9, 2016.

Abilene Law Enforcement Officer Joshua Ward is serving Abileneans from the east coast this week, sporting a blue jersey, he’s one of 2500 officers cycling 300 miles for the Police Unity Tour.

“Its just a sea of blue for miles,” Ward said. “They shut down six lane highways for us.”

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Each year around mid-May, National Police Week is observed nationwide.  Many National Police Week events will take place this week including the tour which begins Monday in New Jersey and ends Thursday in Washington DC.

The ride ends when the riders reach Judiciary Square, the home of the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial. Ward said more than 10,000 people line up to greet the riders.

“It’s a humbling moment and it also recharges you as a law enforcement officer,” Ward said. “You come back and you’re ready to get back to work. That’s a good time to understand why you do what you do.”

Officer Ward has taken part in the ride for the past couple of years. He rides as a representative of an organization called Texas Wheels of Justice – a team that is comprised of Officers from around the state and beyond. This year he’s one of two officers from Abilene joining officers from Conroe, the Houston area, Louisiana and Iowa.

The Tour began in the nineties with 17 officers that wanted to raise awareness for fallen officers across the nation.  It has now grown to over 2500 officers.

Ward said he felt called to participate in the ride after the loss of Abilene officer Rodney Holder.

To me it’s a great honor to be a part of this team,” Ward said.

Ward said he participates for all the law enforcement officers that give their life in the line of duty each year and also for their families. Ward has met several family members of fallen officers that participate in the tour.

“You may come up and start talking to somebody, and their brother, their sister, their mom, their dad, their husband – was killed in the line of duty, and this is how they’re coping with it,” Ward said.

The tour raises money for the upkeep of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, but what keeps officers like Officer Ward coming back each year, is this true sense of unity, teamwork, and family.

“We’ll sit at the end of the day and just fellowship, have a good time, talk stories, talk trash to each other, it’s a great time,” Ward said. “We’ve got friends in New Jersey that we ride with each year. They want to ride with Texas, They want with Texas because we’re fun,” Ward laughed.