Branford’s Deputy Chief of Police, Thomas Fowler, is taking off a few days of work but it’s not a vacation that he’s booked; Fowler will join 1,199 bikers and trek 320 miles as part of the the Police Unity Tour, which starts May 9 (National Police Week is May 15-21).
Sitting in his office, biking books piled beside him, Fowler said, “I think it’s a very worthwhile cause and a natural fit.”
Always involved in philanthropic work by way of exercise, Fowler has been a long-time participant of the Torch Run to support Connecticut Special Olympics and just a few years ago, picked up biking as a sport.
Looking for a way to give back, Fowler signed up for the Unity Bike Tour and will ride from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to support the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C. (where the bike ride ends). To participate, Fowler needs to raise at least $1,750 (you can sponsor him by downloading the attached PDF or e-mail email@example.com).
Not only will Fowler be riding for the greater cause, he’s also commemorating Deputy Sheriff Davy Wayne Crawford of Carroll County, GA who was killed in the line of duty last February. During his ride, Fowler will wear two bracelets with Crawford’s name on them. When he arrives in Washington, Fowler said he will give the braclets to the fallen officer’s wife and members of the Georgia Sheriff’s Department who will be waiting at the finish line.
The memorial monument in Washington was dedicated on October 15, 1991 and honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers. According to the memorial's website, the two curving 304-foot-long, blue-gray marble walls are inscribed with the names of nearly 19,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout US history, dating back to the first known death in 1792. During what Fowler calls a "moving" candlelit ceremony, names of officers who have died in 2010 will be added to the memorial.
Though he’s never lost a fellow officer in the line of duty, Fowler said he’s proud to be riding for Crawford and looks forward to the journey that will challenge him but will also hopefully be rewarding.
Fowler will be biking four days covering 75 miles the first day, 100 miles on days two and three and 45 to 60 miles on the final day. A little intimidated but confident in his ability, Fowler shares that he’s never bike more than 75 miles in one shot.
The people he’s training with, commented Fowler, “said it was a very arduous ride but very fulfilling.”
Until recently, Fowler shares that he hadn’t ridden a bike in years. “It was difficult but I slowly increased my mileage."
His first go at biking was inspired by his brother in law Dr. Steven Angelo who loaned him two wheels, which he took to for a 12-mile ride. Now biking along Route 146 from Branford to Guilford often, Fowler is proud to say he logged 2,300 miles in 2010 and has set a goal of 3,000 miles for 2011.
Biking has been a sort of stress reliever for the nearly 25-year veteran of the force. He shared, “Driving down route 77 up to Durham– the farms and things that you don’t usually notice… there’s a barn with an American flag painted on it and I didn’t notice driving but cycling was the first time I saw it.”
As he readies for his journey– the first biking benefit he’s ever done– Fowler said, “I am looking forward to a very satisfying journey.”
Fowler will be biking on the Unity Tour with Don Kleber, retired New York FBI Agent and Darien Chief of Police, Duane Lovello.