In celebration of Red Ribbon Week, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced members of Team Blue Lafourche will ride bicycles over the entire length of Lafourche Parish this Thursday to promote living a healthy, drug-free life and to show appreciation for local supporters who donated to the National Law Enforcement Memorial through the 2013 Police Unity Tour. The 1st Annual Team Blue Lafourche Appreciation Tour will take place this Thursday, October 31 along the entire length of LA Highway 1 in Lafourche Parish.
The national theme for this year's Red Ribbon Week is, "A Healthy Me is Drug Free!" The cyclists of Team Blue Lafourche hope to promote this theme through their parish-long ride. They will be wearing red ribbons during the ride and will be making several stops along the route, including several Lafourche Parish Public Schools, to reinforce that message to students.
Participating in the ride will be four members of Team Blue Lafourche, including Lieutenant John Champagne, Lieutenant Doug Foreman, Lieutenant Andrew Labat, and Barret Ellender, Chief Financial Officer for the Sheriff's Office. They will be joined by two new team members, Lafourche Parish Drug Task Force Agents Derek Champagne and Kate Stegall, as well as Thibodaux Chief of Police Scott Silverii. The ride will begin Thursday morning at 8 a.m. north of Thibodaux at the Lafourche-Assumption Parish line on LA 1 and end at the Lafourche-Jefferson Parish line near Grand Isle on Thursday afternoon. For their first stop of the day, Team Blue Lafourche will detour from LA 1 onto East 7th Street in Thibodaux to meet with Lafourche Parish Schools Superintendent Jo Ann Matthews for a presentation showing their appreciation.
In May, Champagne, Foreman, Labat and Ellender, as well as Sheriff Craig Webre and Lieutenant Mark Adams, took part in the 2013 Police Unity Tour during National Police Week. The tour consists of a three-day, 250-mile bicycle ride from Portsmouth, Virginia to the site of the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. in an effort to raise awareness for officers who have died in the line of duty. The effort helps raise funds for the Memorial, and this year, the riders raised $1.7 million including $15,000 locally from donations by generous citizens, businesses and fellow deputies. Students at Lafourche Parish Public Schools also contributed by donating money on designated "jean days," where they were allowed to wear jeans instead of their uniforms.
Team Blue Lafourche also wishes to recognize three sponsors who were major contributors to the Memorial fund through the 2013 Police Unity Tour: Bollinger Foundation, Quality Contractors of Louisiana, and Savoie’s Alligator Farm.
The Police Unity Tour began in 1997 with just 18 cyclists and has grown to include hundreds from nearly every state in the nation. The Police Unity Tour is the single, largest fundraiser for the National Law Enforcement Memorial and one of the most anticipated events during National Police Week activities. Established in 1962, National Police Week falls during the calendar week of May 15, which is National Peace Officers Memorial Day.