On June 12, 2017, the Carolina Brotherhood (CBH) will be rolling out of Smithfield (NC) Fire Department cycling approximately 600 miles to Beaufort, South Carolina, in four days to honor fallen public safety officers who died in the line of duty (LODD) in both North and South Carolina. The team consists of 30 riders and 20 support staff all whom are firefighters, paramedics, police officers or public safety family members across North Carolina and South Carolina stretching from Charleston, South Carolina, to Asheville, North Carolina, and everywhere in between.
The group was formed in 2012 after the line-of-duty death of Captain Jeff Bowen of the Asheville (NC) Fire Department, who tragically died in a fire at a medical office building in Asheville. The mission of the Carolina Brotherhood is to raise funds for the families of fallen first responders and to honor their memories. During the ride, CBH will stop at local fire departments, police stations and communities to honor the families of the fallen by providing both financial and emotional support.
CBH has designated this year’s ride to be in honor and support of line-of-duty deaths that occurred in 2015. This really hits home for local area as the first honoree will be local Firefighter Chris Daniels of the Smithfield (NC) Fire Department, who passed away suddenly in 2015 while on duty. Chris was a dedicated husband, father, friend and firefighter.
A few local first responders are participants in the ride. Dena Ali and Jason Patterson of the Raleigh (NC) Fire Department, Dan Pigage (RDU Airport PD), and Jason Deitch of the Garner (NC) Fire Department are part of the of Carolina Brotherhood Team. Why do they do it?
“I am a firefighter and an avid cyclist, so it just made sense for me to get involved,” says Dena Ali. “I was one of the original members in 2012 and since our first ride, I make it a priority to participate each year. In 2012, we started our first ride in Asheville to support Captain Bowen and his family. Captain Bowen’s crew from the Asheville Fire Department rode with us and each night, they would tell stories and share the memories they had about him. At the end of the ride, I got to know Jeff’s family and now have made lifelong friends with all of them. It was then I realized that this ride is something much bigger than myself and I feel proud to honor each LODD and their families.”
“We want the families to know that even years down the road, we have not forgotten about their loved one who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We want the families to know that we still honor them now,” says Jason Deitch of Garner Fire-Rescue.
How can you get involved? CBH is always looking for donations, if you would like to donate, check out their Web site at carolinabrotherhood.com. You can donate to the team or sponsor an individual rider. Each rider has set a personal fundraising goal, as well as a team goal of $30,000 has been set. You can also find out more information about the ride, the route, the riders and track the ride live during the week of June 12th. You can also find them on the social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.
Proceeds go to the families and CBH rides are mainly supported by donations with as little expenses as possible.