Welcome to Texas Wheels of Justice
In 2003 while attending a class at the DPS Academy in Austin, I picked up a copy of a magazine called American Police Beat. I noticed an article about a group of Police Officers who were riding their bicycles from New Jersey to Washington DC to raise awareness about Officers being killed in the line of duty and also to raise money to for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund (NLEOMF.)
The ride was called the Police Unity Tour, and it was a 300 mile 4 day ride. The article had piqued my interest mainly because I had just started riding a bicycle as a hobby and a way to stay in shape. The article was asking for more Officers to sign up and participate.
A couple of weeks later I was back in my duty station in Odessa. I could not get the article out of my mind. I decided to bring this up to the other Troopers in my area and see what they thought. After some discussion we decided to do it. After several months of fundraising that included BBQ’s, raffles, silent auctions, begging and just about anything else we could think of me and 4 other Troopers and one Trooper’s wife headed to New Jersey.
We arrived on May the 8th and as you can imagine were pretty excited to be here. We had just completed a very long drive and were about to start an event that we had been putting together for several months. I guess you could say we were pretty proud of ourselves.
I remember trying to carry too much luggage up to the room and was having a hard time trying to get my key in the door without dropping stuff. As luck would have it my phone started to ring. I gave up and just set everything down and answered the phone. I was then informed by my Sergeant that Kurt Knapp, a friend, classmate, and fellow Trooper had been killed in a car crash a few hours earlier.
Nothing like the harsh reality of life taking the pride right out of you.
All of us completed the ride the 300-mile ride that week and rode into the Memorial in Washington DC with heavy hearts. One of the most important benefits that the Police Unity Tour provides to participating Officers is the chance to heal. The ability to be able to do something for your fallen comrades is huge help in dealing with the emotions and grief that follow these types of incidents.
That year we also found out that we were the first Texans to ever participate in this event even though it was in its seventh year. I knew after that year the Police Unity Tour should never take place again without Texas Police Officer’s participating.
TX Wheels of Justice, a 501(c) 3 organization, was established that year and has been going strong ever since. Now its 12th year it has always had multiple members participating in the Police Unity Tour. It has donated over $66,000.00 to the Police Unity Tour during that time but more important is the awareness it has brought about officers being killed in the line of duty and the healing it has provided for the participating officers.
The Heroes Ride was started in 2007 as the only fundraiser for the Organization. We have been blessed to grow every year, and we ask that you, please help us continue to grow and have Texas Peace Officers have a bigger presence in the Unity Ride each year.
By: Eric Gray (October 2017)
Texas Wheels of Justice was established in 2003 as a non-profit focused on directly supporting the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. During that time Officers from across the State of Texas have joined in our mission to Honor our fallen brothers and sisters. Throughout the years, our team has attracted a few worthy members' across the United States who have joined with TWOJ, supporting our mission. While they participate in their own fundraising, they understand, together we can do more. As such they support TXWOJ through additional funding, trailer funding, and most importantly, fellowship. We call these members of TWOJ family, and it would not be the Team it is without them.
The bracelet may not seem like much, but is one of the most treasured items during the Police Unity Tour. It stands for so much.
Each rider rides with at least one bracelet, but many ride with several.
To begin the ride, the bracelet is uncomfortable, gets in the way, and is continuously annoying. As time goes by the bracelet starts to become part of your uniform and part of the rider.
By the end of the 300-mile ride, when the bracelet is removed, it is greatly missed. After riding with the bracelet, the rider has a tan line where the bracelet once rode, and a void is visibly present upon the rider.
The bracelet signifies the loss that each family has experienced.
When the family experiences the loss, it is greatly uncomfortable and heartbreaking. Although, as time goes by, the family learns how to grieve their loss and begins the healing process.
After the ride, each team member meets with the family and presents them with the bracelet that has become part of them. When the rider gives up the bracelet, they experience a "loss", if you will, to symbolize the same loss the family has made.
This is why "The Bracelet" is one of the most treasured items each rider has.
By: Carye Adkins