HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — About 20 members of Shepherds Motorcycle Club left the Cass County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office before sunrise Tuesday morning to begin a five-day fundraising ride called the Long Road Home.
The ride benefits the Missouri Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team. Volunteers run the nonprofit, which helps organize and plan funerals for Missouri police officers killed in the line of duty.
Most recently, the nonprofit coordinated the funeral and procession for North Kansas City Officer Daniel Vasquez last month. Throughout 2022, the team has planned seven funerals. Organizers say it costs about $5,000 to mobilize the team for each funeral.
“It’s stressful, it’s tough, you’re dealing with death over and over again,” explained Les Kerr with the Missouri Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team. “At the end of that, it’s just a huge relief when you’ve done everything you can do to ensure that hero is honored.”
Members of Shepherds are asking the public to donate to their ride. A local business pledged to match up to $10,000 worth of donations. Most members of the motorcycle club are military, law enforcement, or firefighters so the funeral assistance nonprofit is near and dear.
“Every single thing the [funeral assistance team] does is 100 percent free to the family [of the fallen officer]. All the people who volunteer do not get paid, so all the funds that get raised help assist the team,” explained Bill Talley, a member of both Shepherds and the funeral assistance team.
The club will ride to Tail of the Dragon, a winding road near the North Carolina-Tennessee border and return to Kansas City Sunday.
To donate the cause, visit Shepherds Facebook page for links to its PayPal, Venmo and other funding mechanisms.