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 December 17th, 2013  
Tour de Force 9/11 Memorial Bike Ride organization donates $5,000 to Holly Morales, widow of St. Lucie County Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Morales, murdered in the line of duty

The 9/11 Memorial Bike Ride organization has donated $5,000 to Holly Morales, the widow of Gary Morales, a St. Lucie County Sheriff's sergeant murdered in the line of duty Feb. 28.

The donation took place  Dec. 17 at the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office's quarterly awards ceremony.

Sgt. Morales lost his life during a traffic stop just south of Fort Pierce. Deputies arrested a suspect minutes later who is awaiting trial.

Lt. Stephanie Lyons recounted the history of the Tour de Force 9/11 Memorial Bike Ride and the donation. Here are her remarks at the ceremony:

The Tour de Force 9/11 Memorial Bike Ride was started in 2002 by ten NYPD officers as a memorial to the emergency service workers who died on September 11, 2001. The first year of the ride, the officers did not raise any funds, but as the idea of a tribute grew, the idea of raising money to help families of officers killed in the line of duty became an integral part of the purpose.

The Tour de Force is a not-for-profit charity and 501(c)(3) organization that raises funds for the families of police officers, killed in the line of duty, through an annual, four-day, 265- mile bicycle ride and various one day events.

This year, 250 police officers and emergency personnel from around the country and abroad, participated in the event. Deputy Sooner Means, from the Department of Detention, has been a ride participant for the last five years.

Being selected to participate is not only a personal honor for Deputy Means, but is also an honor for our agency to have one of "our own" selected to ride with some of the strongest, and most fit officers in the country to pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Patty Goodman, a resident of St. Lucie County and support staff member, has been an integral part of The Tour de Force, working behind the scenes to support riders throughout the four-day event providing everything from food and hydration to fixing flat tires.

The Tour de Force uses the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org) to help select families in need, and also considers families that are nominated by agencies and ride participants.

It is with great pride that the Tour de Force recognizes the ultimate sacrifice made by Sergeant Gary Morales and would like to help our agency honor this hero's memory by donating $5,000 to his wife and children. The Tour de Force organization sends their sincere condolences to Sgt. Morales' family and shares in your grief and mourns our brother's loss.

In conjunction with The Tour de Force, the support team and ride participants would like to present Sheriff K. Mascara and Major Pat Tighe with a plaque to thank them for their past and continued support of The Tour de Force.

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