BRYAN - The Brotherhood Ride, a group of 45 first responders biking across Texas in memory of 19 firefighters who died in the line of duty last year have arrived in Bryan.
The ride started in Louisiana last Thursday. The riders should arrive in Bryan between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m., completing the first 750 miles of the journey.
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Yesterday, they rolled through West to honor the 12 first responders who lost their lives in the deadly fertilizer plant explosion last April.
The riders came south on Highway 6, though Hearne, and headed east on FM 2818. Just south of Hwy 21, the route takes them left on Beck Street, right on Palasota Drive to the intersection of Palasota and Groesbeck Street. They will stop for a prayer service at the former sight of the Knights of Columbus Hall. Two members of the Bryan Fire Department, lieutenants Gregory Pickard and Eric Wallace, were killed battling the fire that destroyed the Hall last February.
Their next stop is the Elks Lodge where they will spend the night.
Among the riders is Matthew Deemer, a six-year veteran with the Bryan Fire Department. Deemer says he keeps his fellow brothers in mind when the journey gets tough.
"It's not about us, it's about the families," said Deemer. "The families went through more pain then we're going to go through on this ride. So, we just keep that in mind and push through."
“We are proud of Matt for taking part in this ride,” said Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor. “We are honored to have an organization like this pay tribute to our two family members.”
The Brotherhood Ride began in 2007 as a way to honor and remember nine Charleston, S.C. firefighters who lost their lives. That ride began in Naples, Florida and ended in Charleston.
“We decided that this would be a yearly event,” said Jeff Morse, Founder and President of the Brotherhood Ride. “Each year we would select an unsung hero(s) from around the country to honor by riding our bicycles to their hometown and providing financial and emotional support to their families and friends. The ride would take place about a year after their death as a reminder that they have not and would not be forgotten.”
Tomorrow, the Brotherhood Ride heads to Houston. They'll leave town via Old College to Wellborn, Wellborn to William D. Fitch Parkway and then south on Highway 6.
They plan to reach Houston on Friday. The following day marks the anniversary of the day four Houston firefighters were killed when part of building fell on them during a motel fire.
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