September 11th, 2001 is a day no one can, or will ever forget. Nearly 3,000 people died, including 343 firefighters and 60 police officers.
“Since we work in the field, we know how dangerous the job can be,” says Stacey Bollinger, an East Moline Police Officer. “It’s always a tragedy when we lose one of our officers.”
As his way to remember them, Stacey rides in the Tour De Force, a memorial bike ride on the East Coast that honors the victims of 9/11 while raising money for the families of fallen police officers. To participate is a privilege, because only 250 police officers across the country get the chance to ride. It’s also very expensive. Participants have to raise $1,000 just to take part.
“We’ve been struggling with fundraising,” says Stacey. “With the economy the way that it is, people just don’t have the spare cash to donate.”
Stacey’s wife, Gloria, has spent the year trying to raise the money herself. She’s reached out to her co-workers in Augustana’s Security Office, sold plants, and even sold some of her own personal belongings so her husband can get to New York City. One of her co-workers, Heather Hufford, noticed her efforts and wanted to help.
“She volunteers all the time for things,” says Heather. “She’s like our Mom here at work. She’s very giving.”
Through WQAD’s “Pay It Forward” Program and with the help of Ascentra Credit Union, Heather surprised Gloria with $300. However, the money did not stay in Gloria’s hand for very long. Without hesitation, she turned and gave the cash to her husband, who is now able to represent our area and continue “paying it forward” himself.
Another East Moline Police Officer will join Stacey on this year’s Tour De Force. News 8’s Pauli Mayfield will follow them on their last day of training this Sunday, September 2nd. Meanwhile, you can click here for more information on the Tour De Force.