Bike ride honors fallen first responders
Published 10:32 am Tuesday, July 25, 2023
BY JORDAN BROOKS
To show recognition and appreciation for fallen first responders and their families in Kentucky, members of a non-profit organization rode bicycles through Kentucky and into Bell County on Wednesday.
Kentucky Brotherhood is a 501(c)(3) comprising first responders who ride bikes around the state to honor their fallen colleagues. KBR riders are made up of firefighters, police officers, EMS personnel and family members of those who have fallen.
“We take our bicycles across Kentucky to honor the line of duty deaths in fire, EMS, police, and corrections,” said Kimberly Morgan, flight nurse with PHI London. “We go through these towns to honor and offer support emotionally and financially to the families that have had to endure the pain of losing their loved one.”
This year Morgan says she is honoring Mark Woodcock, Air Evac 56 pilot from Danville, who she worked with for 10 years.
Riders will make stops in London, Hazard and Salyersville before ending July 22 in Pikeville. The ride will cover approximately 300 miles while honoring 18 fallen first responders, including paramedics Steve Hartley from Middlesboro Fire and EMS and Ken Ely, formerly of Bell County EMS.
Regina Martin, flight nurse from Danville, says she thinks of the Brotherhood as more family than team.
“The Kentucky Brotherhood is my family. They do the same line of work as I do, and there is a common bond in that understanding of this line of work,” said Martin. “It’s hard to verbalize why exactly this means so much to me, but maybe it’s because we do for them, referring to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice with their life, what we know they would do for us. We are family, and so we will honor them and do what we can to help their families.”
Martins says some riders ride a few times a year and train together, but her riding is more sporadic. She says she crosstrains in other things such as running and weight lifting and then dusts off her bike for some 20-plus-mile rides a few times a month, then shows up to rides to muscle her way through with a lot of sweat and a few tears.
Martin is riding for fallen officers Jacob Chaffins, William Petry and Ralph Frasure who were killed in an ambush on June 30, 2022 in Floyd County, where she worked as a flight nurse for several years.
The ride includes 34 cyclists from four states and 26 support personnel.
Other fallen first responders honored include Air Evac 56 Danville pilot Mark Woodcock, London Police Lt. Travis Hurley, London Police Officer Logan Medlock, Taylor County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mark Pike, Casey County Deputy Jailer Gregory Means and Monticello Fire Chief Jerry Ferrell.