By Craig Prystay (with Sgt. Steve Gibson, ret.)
Drivers, Bloggers, Fundraisers, and
Special Contributors to PoliceOne
We started our journey for C.O.P.S. Road to Hope by crossing the border between Canada and the United states at 6:30 a.m. on Monday May 3. We were met and escorted by retired United States Border Patrol Agent Mike Wilson, his wife Diana, two USBP vehicles and one CBP vehicle. Also present was Neil Thompson of the B.C. Chapter 1 of the Blue Nights and Dick Fisher of the Washington Chapter 2. We also were honored by being escorted by Whatcom Sheriff Bill Elfo and two motors, Deputies Roger and Todd. In honor of Mike and Diana’s son, Senior Patrol Agent Jeremy Wilson (End of watch: September 19, 2004), Mike took the wheel and we proceeded to Seattle for a Memorial stop for Officer Timothy Brenton of the Seattle PD (End of watch: Oct 31, 2009).
Along the route to Forza Coffee in Seattle Washington, we were also joined by two Ferndale PD vehicles and four Washington Public Safety Security Service vehicles. Arriving at Forza coffee, we were greeted by Brad Carpenter, the owner of that Forza coffee house. We presented the coffee house with a certificate of appreciation and two Road to Hope challenge coins that are now embedded into their service counter.
Present were Captain Mike Fann and Captain Jim Dermody of Seattle Police Department, and many other SPD Officers. Joining us also were Myrle Carner of Washington’s Most Wanted and Lisa from KOMO 4 News. We also spoke to Troy Meyers of C.O.P.S. (Concerns Of Police Survivors), who said this drive to remember fallen officers is appreciated by the families and C.O.P.S and he was happy that we were getting the word out.
After that stop we were escorted to the Lakewood Forza Coffee House were family members of the four Lakewood officers who were killed at that location signed the hood of the Hummer next to their loved ones names, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens, Sgt. Mark Renninger, and Officer Greg Richards (End of watch: November 29, 2009). Along with these family members, many Lakewood officers attended, including Chief Bret Farrar who also signed the hood of the Hummer.
We know we are making a difference when we see the professional reporters having tears in their eyes while they are filming a family member touching the names of loved ones on the hood of the Hummer, and then see a gentle smile on those family members faces slowly appear.
We then proceeded to the Oregon state line, where our Washington escorts broke off and we were met by John Nerski of the Oregon Blue Knights Chapter 1. We ended up at the end of our first day in Eugene Oregon.
Day two was our longest day of driving — with a CHP escort, we followed I-5 for 635 miles in one day with many, many photo opportunities along the route — ending the day in Modesto, Calif.
This is our fourth trip in Guardian One, driving across the country. Our goal is raising awareness about Law Enforcement Officer Deaths and supporting the families of fallen officers by helping raise money for C.O.P.S. If you wish you can buy miles in memory at www.Salutehonor.org (all of this money goes to C.O.P.S.)
At the end of this trip we will have driven more 36,000 miles for those officers who have died for us.
Please follow us on Twitter at Road to Hope and look for photos of the drive and updates are at www.Salutehonor.org. Click on the newspaper man and look in the photo gallery, don’t forget to buy a mile in memory.