PHOENIX (FOX 10) - A 400-mile bike ride is raising funds to help veterans, first responders, and their families. Among the recipients is the family of fallen Salt River Police officer Clayton Townsend.
A group of retired and active duty officers and firefighters woke up with the sun on Wednesday. They left for a 400-mile bike ride all the way from the North Valley to San Diego. It's a way to pay tribute to fallen Salt River officer Clayton Townsend.
"We're taking 30 riders this year," said John Greenway with Mission 2 Alpha. "We have everything from special operations officers to active duty marines."
Mission 2 Alpha is a group that honors local heroes. Participants in Wednesday's ride left Carefree in the early morning to honor fallen heroes.
"People are honking and waving," said Greenway. "We've had people pull up and get out of their cars and give us money while we're going by."
The event happens in the wake of Officer Townsend's death back in January after he was hit and killed by a driver who admitted he was texting. The group has raised $165,000 for suicide prevention for veterans. A portion of the proceeds will also go to Townsend's family.
"It's just a great opportunity for Americans to get together and really give back," Greenway said.
First responders are also riding in support of fallen fallen Valley firefighter Kyle Brayer who was shot and killed in Old Town, Scottsdale in February of last year. The group paying tribute to these Valley heroes are expected to arrive at the USS Midway in San Diego on Saturday.
"Americans are super patriotic and they are very giving people," said Greenway.