Brotherhood Riders will pedal to Tampa this weekend for two slain officers

More than 30 firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel this weekend will ride bicycles from North Naples to Tampa for two slain Tampa police officers.

The Brotherhood Ride honors officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab, who were shot to death while trying to make an arrest at a traffic stop June 29, 2010, in Tampa.

The two-day ride will also honor Fort Myers police K-9 named "Rosco" who was shot and killed in September during an armed robbery in Fort Myers.

A ceremony is slated for 8 a.m. Friday at North Naples fire station No. 45 and riders will depart at 9 a.m., traveling along U.S. 41. The riders route includes a stop at Fort Myers police headquarters.

The more than 160-mile ride ends Saturday at the Tampa police headquarters. Riders are expected to arrive around 4 p.m.

"Our goal is to raise emotional and financial support for the families," said North Naples firefighter Jeff Morse, president/founder of the Brotherhood Ride.

This year, the group is embarking on two rides.

The other Brotherhood Ride is to honor the 9/11 fallen officers and emergency responders on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack.

The 22-day, more than 1,600-mile ride will leave from Naples and end in New York. Riders will leave North Naples fire station No. 45 on Aug. 20 and ride to Ground Zero in New York.

Morse said the group had already committed for the 9/11 ride, but there was no way they would not honor the two Tampa police officers.

An estimated 40 firefighters and law enforcement officers from Southwest Florida and around the country are expected to take part in the ride.

For the past four years, bicyclists have been riding throughout the state to raise money for the families. Morse funded the ride four years ago to honor nine firefighters who died in the line of duty battling a blaze in Charleston, S.C.

Since then, riders have been honoring those who have died in the line of duty by riding bicycles into their hometown.

Morse said it shows the families, coworkers and the community that a year later, those who have died in the line of duty haven't been forgotten.

Since its inception, the Brotherhood Ride has donated more than $68,000 to families.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.brotherhoodride.com.

Connect with Tracy X. Miguel at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tracy_x_miguel/

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