Wheeling police Officer Josh Sanders will join law enforcement from across the nation in New York next month on a four-day bicycle ride to Boston to raise money for families of officers killed on the job.
Sanders will participate in the "12th Annual Tour De Force 9-11 Memorial Bike Ride," set to begin Sept. 8 at Ground Zero in New York City. About 250 bicyclists will ride through New York City, across Long Island, up the Connecticut coast to Providence, R.I., then on to Boston.
The group will travel about 50-70 miles each day, according to Sanders. They plan to finish at the Boston Marathon finish line on Sept. 11 in honor of the victims of the Boston bombings.
Wheeling police Officer Josh Sanders rides his bike in preparation for the “12th Annual Tour De Force 9-11 Memorial Bike Ride” beginning Sept. 8 at Ground Zero in New York City. The four-day trek is expected to end on Sept. 11 in Boston.
Tour De Force seeks to commemorate the lives lost during the 9/11 attacks by keeping their memories alive through cycling events, he said. Also, the organization raises funds to benefit the families of police officers killed in the line of duty each year.
Sanders noted in 2012 the Tour De Force honored two West Virginia State Police troopers shot and killed while on duty in Clay County.
"If they hear of an officer killed, they send their families money or seek to honor them in some way," he said of the organization.
Sanders has been a member of the Wheeling Police Department's bicycle patrol for three years, and two years ago he joined a bicycling group named Team ARKangel.
"Our main goal is to do charity rides and help others," Sanders said.
Team ARKangel was formed by law enforcement officer Harry Myers of Follansbee in honor of Abby Rose Kudrin - the child of friends in the Cleveland area who died in infancy. Her parents formed a foundation to assist parents dealing with the loss of a young child, and Team ARKangel began as a means to raise funds for the group.
Most recently, Team ARKangel raised funds for those battling multiple sclerosis through a ride across northern Ohio. About 12 bicyclists from the Wheeling area are on Team ARKangel, as well as another 12 from Cleveland, according to Sanders.
Sanders noted he rides his bicycle most evenings after completing his shift at the Wheeling Police Department, and he added last weekend he rode with Team ARKangel to Washington, Pa., "just for training."
Bicyclists participating in the Tour De Force were asked to raise $1,250 before the event. People wishing to contribute to the cause by sponsoring Sanders' ride still can do so by visiting www.tourdeforceny.com/donations.html and selecting Sanders' name in the "riders" box on the donations application.