Eighty-five motorcyclists, including two from New Jersey, rode in a benefit run Saturday for Dayton police officer Byron Branch.
Organizers said it was the first “Call to Duty” ride held by the area chapter of the Uncle Sam’s Avengers Motorcycle Club for active-duty or retired veterans and public servants.
“I think it’s wonderful they are doing this for Officer Branch,” said Janie Long of Riverside, mother of Dayton Police Sgt. Gordon Cairns, one of the organizers. “I’m just proud of all of them.”
Branch, a rookie cop and new father, is expected to be fitted with a prosthesis after losing part of his right leg on Dec. 16.
He was injured when a driver slid off the road into his cruiser, which hit him and the driver from an early accident he was investigating on a rainy, icy stretch of Interstate 75 near U.S. 35.
Branch was riding along in a police cruiser as part of the procession that left the VFW Post in Huber Heights about noon Saturday. He declined to comment.
After a stop at the Brixx Ice Co. bar and grill in Dayton, the run returned to the post on Nebraska Avenue for a fund-raising raffle and party. The ride was expected to take about three hours.
“It brings together people from all walks of life,” said Stephen Roschel, a club member from Kettering. “It brings everybody together in harmony.”
Motorcycle units from Montgomery and Greene county sheriff’s offices and the Trotwood Police Department helped secure the procession.
In addition to members of the local club for retired or active police fire or first responders, members from the original Uncle Sam’s Avengers chapter in Parsippany, N.J. supported the cause.
Also riders from the Dayton Moose Lodge 73 in Beavercreek joined the procession as it pulled out of the lot onto Nebraska Avenue to raise funds for Branch and his family.
Jack Miniard, president for the local club chapter, said the event was a way for members to give back to the community and help an officer hurt in the line of duty.
“It hits home to us,” Miniard said.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 44 also established the Officer Byron Branch Donation Account at Key Bank.