Memorial ride to fund scholarships, remember fallen officersWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mo Sheahan, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
Diane Miscannon said bikers have “the biggest hearts on the face of the earth.”
On July 13, the biking community will rally for the annual Detective Keith Dressel Memorial Ride. The bikers will depart from Oscar Bunch UAW/GM Powertrain Park in Toledo. The event aims to raise funds for the Officer William Miscannon Scholarship Fund in Memory of Keith Dressel at Owens Community College while honoring two deceased members of the Toledo Police Department.
Dressel was shot and killed while trying to stop a drug deal in February 2007 and Miscannon, Diane’s father, was shot and killed during a riot in 1970.
While the ride was established to honor Dressel and Miscannon, both families said the event is also a celebration.
“It’s a big party, a reunion of sorts,” said Diane, who was 10 when her father died.
“I get to hear about my dad from people that knew him, and that helps honor his memory,” she added.
Larraine Dressel, Keith’s mother, said the best part of the ride is Keith being remembered.
“That’s a worry you have, that all the good will be forgotten, but he’s being remembered and [the ride is] doing good,” she said.
Larraine said she appreciates the opportunity for Keith’s children, stepdaughter Sydney and son Noah, to hear about their father.
“They were so young when Keith died. The ride is great for them to see all of the support they have and learn about their dad,” she said.
Sydney, now 12, and Noah, 10, usually ride as passengers or in sidecars on the motorcycles of officers.
Each year, a police escort leads an average of 300 riders through the Toledo area. After the ride, the group gathers for lunch at the park. While the course and distance varies, the ride always goes past Ontario Street in Toledo’s North End where Keith was shot.
“The neighborhood is out in support, waving flags, cheering. Some wear shirts with Keith’s name on them. They are all very respectful. It’s touching,” Miscannon said.
All funds raised from the ride go to the scholarship fund started at Owens Community College to recognize Dressel and Miscannon. Established in 2008, the scholarship is awarded annually to one outstanding law enforcement student at the college. To apply for the $1,500 award, students complete an essay application.
Now in its seventh year, the ride was first planned by friends and colleagues of Dressel in the months following his death.
Oregon Police Officer Sara Shaw said the ride gave a way for the community to mourn Dressel, the first TPD member to die in the line of duty in more than 30 years.
“It was very surreal for the community to lose an officer again,” said Shaw, who helps organize the memorial ride.
The community is what makes the ride so special, Shaw said.
“It’s not just about Keith and William. It’s a way to support all of the officers who have lost their lives. It’s about honoring this profession. As much as this job takes up your life, it brings us all together, too.”
Larraine said the support of the police community helps her family cope with Keith’s death.
“It’s neat to see the way the guys in blue support each other,” she said.
“It’s like great big wings came over and just scooped your family up. They took care of us. Still do.”
All community members are invited and encouraged to participate in the annual memorial ride. Motorcycles are the most common vehicle, but Larraine said many ride scooters or other smaller, motorized bikes
Registration is $25 per individual or $35 for a rider and passenger, and can be completed at www.rideforkeith.com, or starting at 9 a.m. July 13 at Oscar Bunch UAW/GM Powertrain Park, 5411 Jackman Road. Participants receive a T-shirt and lunch.
Visit www.rideforkeith.com to learn more.