Team Blue Lafourche
from left to right: Joseph Anderson, Derek Champagne, Lt. John Champagne, Kate Stegall, Barret Ellender, Lt. Andrew Labat
Sheriff Craig Webre announced six members of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office raised $12,000 for the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. though their participation in the 2014 Police Unity Tour. Sheriff Webre thanked the citizens and businesses of Lafourche Parish and the surrounding communities for their support in this endeavor. On Monday, the six deputies completed the three-day, 250-mile bicycle ride from Portsmouth, Virginia to Washington, D.C., which is the premier event for National Police Week.
LPSO’s team, called Team Blue Lafourche, consisted of Lt. John Champagne, Lt. Andrew Labat, and Barret Ellender who participated in last year’s ride, as well as first-time participants Joseph Anderson, Kate Stegall, and Derek Champagne. As a whole, Team Blue Lafourche raised $12,000 this year to contribute to the Memorial.
Sheriff Webre, who participated in last year’s Police Unity Tour, applauded the team’s efforts. “The men and women of this agency are actively involved in countless fundraising efforts, but this is the one that hits closest to home for each and every one of us,” said Sheriff Webre.
Each Police Unity Tour rider chooses at least one fallen officer for which they dedicate their ride, and the rider wears a bracelet with that officer’s name during the entire trip. Following the ride, the riders attempt to connect with the surviving family members of the fallen officer for which they rode. The names of four Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies appear on the memorial wall:
- Thomas W. Procter (End of Watch: May 6, 1978)
- Chaney J. Champagne (End of Watch: July 31, 2003)
- Kurt E. Harrelson (End of Watch: July 31, 2003)
- Martha A. Woods-Shareef (End of Watch: August 20, 2008)
Team Blue Lafourche’s newest members shared their thoughts on the experience:
- Kate Stegall: “This was the single-most physically taxing, yet memorable and rewarding, experience in which I have ever participated.”
- Derek Champagne: “Though the ride is arduous, you realize you are riding for something much greater than yourself. This s truly a life-changing experience.”
- Joseph Anderson: “It was an honor to ‘ride for those who died’ and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Being able to share my condolences with the survivors of a fallen brother for which I rode is an experience I will cherish.”
The Police Unity Tour was founded in 1997 by officers who wanted to raise awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and to money for the National Law Enforcement Memorial in the nation’s capital. The event started with just 18 cyclists and has grown to include hundreds from nearly every state in the nation. The Police Unity Tour is the single, largest fundraiser for the memorial and one of the most anticipated events during National Police Week activities. Established in 1962, National Police Week falls during the calendar week of May 15, which is National Peace Officers Memorial Day.