The Law Enforcement United (LEU) non-profit organization started in Sept. 2009 with the mission to remember the sacrifice of all the LEOs who have died in the line of duty and support the survivors left behind. The board of directors and membership consists of an all-volunteer group of federal, state and local LEOs and survivors who are committed to honoring the service and sacrifice of all cops.
“Everyone loves a firefighter, but no one really loves a cop until someone kicks your door down and the cops arrive to help you,” says Chad Chadwick, one of the founding members and president of LEU. “The guys in blue are the only ones who run toward the fight—not away from it. LEU honors officers by supporting organizations that remember their sacrifice and provide resources to survivors.”
LEU holds several fundraising events all over the country. Local divisions raise money to fund hands-on programs for the children of fallen officers, such as scholarships and camps in an effort to rebuild the lives of survivors. “The biggest challenge associated with LEU is finding the time to coordinate and manage half a million dollars every year, especially since all the staff are volunteers and most are working police officers,” says Chadwick.
The organization’s biggest annual event, the Road to Hope, is a 250-mile, three-day memorial bicycle trek to Washington, D.C., to attend the National Peace Officers Memorial Day services held in May. Two routes both end at the White House Ellipse: One division rides from Chesapeake, Va., and the other starts at Reading, Pa. Both divisions then arrive in Washington, D.C., together.
Marc Stedman, one of the founding members and treasurer of LEU, has been riding in the Road to Hope since 2009. “What keeps me involved in this organization is making sure survivors of fallen officers have the support structure they need.”
Any current or retired sworn LEO or an immediate family survivor who is 18 years or older can participate in the ride or join the support staff. To participate, first sign up for a membership at www.LawEnforcementUnited.org ($125). Once registration for the 2013 ride is up, members will be alerted. Registration for the ride is $100, which includes a jersey and a jacket.
Money raised from this event is donated to the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP.org) and Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) to aid survivors of fallen officers. “This past year, we were able to raise $150,000 for C.O.P.S. and $80,000 for ODMP,” says Chadwick.
The Road to Hope also helps participants who are grieving get the support they need. “One of the survivors who rode last year was the fiancé of an officer in my department who died last year,” says Chadwick. “The journey through the three-day ride was part of her grieving and healing process. It was inspiring to see her transformation when we arrived to Washington, D.C.”
“It’s about a group of people getting the support they need and completing a personal goal in honor of someone close they knew killed in the line of duty. Along the way there are memorial services and a lot of change in a lot of people in different ways,” says Stedman.
Help them reach their 2013 goal by joining and donating today. For more information, visit www.lawenforcementunited.org.