GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Each year, first responders from across the Gulf Coast take on a 400-mile bike ride in honor of first responders killed in the line of duty.
The Gulf Coast Brotherhood Ride started in Holden, Louisiana, on Monday, Oct. 9 and found its way to Gulf Shores Friday afternoon. Almost three dozen riders representing 22 agencies from four states all riding for one purpose: to honor and remember a fallen officer, firefighter or EMT.
Adam Partridge is a former Mobile Police officer. Now, he is an officer with the Hoover Police Department. He has made this 400-mile ride for five years. This year, he rode in memory of Baldwin County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Smith and Mount Vernon Police Officer Ivan Lopez.
Smith drowned saving the life of a swimmer in distress in June 2021. Lopez was killed by a drunk driver in August 2022.
Partridge said the ride is healing for both the cyclist and the survivors.
“What’s more important to me is the emotional support, the spiritual support and the comfort we can bring to the families and the encouragement because everybody is in a different place in their healing cycle,” Partridge said.
At most stops along the bike ride, family and friends of the fallen greet the riders. Samantha Smith and Lopez’s ex-wife Maricelly Acrey welcomed the cyclist in Gulf Shores. Lopez’s daughters spoke at the event.
Families shared stories and remembrances of their lost loved ones and were presented with plaques commemorating the ride and signed by all of the cyclists in honor of their loved ones.