The concept of the Brotherhood Ride came about after the death of nine Charleston, SC firefighters. On June 18, 2007, nine firefighters lost their lives while doing what they love to do, fighting fire and saving lives. That day nine firefighters never went home to their families and friends. Nine pairs of shoes will never be filled when the apparatus returned to their assigned stations, as they left them behind when they donned their bunker gear. Both their at home families and work families will always have a hole in their hearts that will never be filled again.
As time passed a small group from the North Collier FD, Florida, gathered with heavy hearts and came up with the concept of the Brotherhood Ride. They wanted to honor the brave professionals for their sacrifice. They wanted to provide financial and emotional support to the families and show them that their loved ones would not be forgotten as time moved forward. As they traveled the nearly 600 mile journey from Naples, FL to Charleston, SC they wanted to show dedication through the pain and adversities it would take to reach the destination. As painful and challenging the trip would be they knew it was nothing compared to what the Charleston 9 had faced, and their families left behind were still facing.
That was going to be a one time ride, with mostly all loaned and rented equipment. It wasn't but a few months after the ride was completed that Officer Andrew Widman, of the Fort Myers Police Dept., was shot and killed. His badge number was 413, so that following year the Brotherhood Ride team pedaled their bicycles 413 miles around Florida in his honor.
The Charleston 9 started the Brotherhood Ride, and Andrew Widman kept it alive. Unfortunately every year since then the team has been DEDICATED to ride to HONOR those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with the utmost PRIDE and will continue to do so until there is a time when there are no line of duty deaths to honor.
In total there are now 3 chapters, including this chapter, that carry on the tradition of Honor, Dedication and Pride. The original Brotherhood ride, In Florida, was established in 2007. They have honored the memory and sacrifice of fallen first responders from SC, TX, NY, FL, TN, VA, PA, NJ, CT, and MA. In 2017 the Texas Brotherhood Ride had their inaugural ride honoring first responders from LA and TX.