EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) — The End of Watch Ride to Remember is a group of motorcyclists who travel across the country, visiting police stations to pay homage to those that have lost a member in the line of duty in the past year.
This year, their tour consists of a 22,500-mile expedition spanning 84 days and 194 departments, honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
On Monday, they rode through Coastal Georgia and paid a visit to Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, which has lost two officers in the line of duty in the past year.
“We’ve got two that are on the trailer, Philip Kraverotis and Jane Ash are two that have died earlier this year from COVID, which is actually considered a line of duty death,” Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie explained.
Some of the officers with Effingham County’s Sheriff’s Office actually participated in a portion of the ride, helping lead the Ride to Remember bus into the station. There are 339 faces of fallen law enforcement officers plastered on both sides of the bus, all of which have passed away in the line of duty in the past year alone.
“When that bus pulled up, it was all I could do to keep from tearing up because these are people’s family,” McDuffie said. “They left home with their intention of going to help somebody, and they never came back home. I’ve got a son and a daughter, two grandkids, when I leave the house my goal is to get back home to them, these folks never made it back to the house.”
Organizing the event has been a challenge for Jagrut Shah, founder of Beyond the Call of Duty, Ride to Remember, and the rest of the team. The group started in Spokane, Washington, where Shah used to serve as a State Officer. Shah calls the experience humbling, both the planning and riding portions.
“I’ve been to a number of funerals, I’ve been part of a number of funerals, but we always honor and remember the fallen in our state or city or county,” Shah said. “I wanted to make sure that each department knew that their loss was being felt nationwide and that their loss could be reflected by looking at those states and those officers. The other, I wanted to make sure that all our survivors knew that their loved ones were going to be remembered and not forgotten, and be able to pass and help connect survivors with survivors for emotional support and financial, and I wanted to do it nationwide,” he added.
The families of those fallen officers were especially grateful for this act of recognition.
“What he loved about being a cop is also the brotherhood and the family. I guess he knew that there was going to be something like this but I didn’t know, so it was so surprising to me but I also felt really grateful and felt so supported,” said Aimee Kraverotis, widow of Phillip Kraverotis who passed away on August 6th, 2020. “They told me they would call and keep in touch with me.”
McDuffie urges those at home to get vaccinated if they can. Even though you may not feel at risk, it could end up saving the lives of those around you.
“These two gave the ultimate sacrifice, they both passed away from it. We’ve had a bunch that’s been sick and we have two that are out now with COVID. So, it hasn’t gone away and it hasn’t stopped. I’m not a big medical person or anything like that but I’m asking people and telling people, get that vaccination, get the immunization, try to stop this stuff. It’s gonna be around with us for a while,” McDuffie said.
If you’d like to donate to the organization, click here.