Bikers from across the Upstate on Saturday rode in honor of Spartanburg Master Police Officer Jason Harris, who died last year responding to a call for backup.
He had served on the Spartanburg Police Department for more than a decade.
Chris Catoe of Spartanburg said Harris’ death still resonates with those who worked with him and called him their friend.
“I was not in town the night the crash happened,” Catoe said. “My wife called and told me. It was pretty rough, and the days following when Jason passed it was rough on everybody.”
Catoe was among about 100 bikers who participated in the memorial ride. A similar ride was also held in 2017 after Harris’ death. Catoe said the ride shows there is still strong support for law enforcement.
The bikers departed Harley Davidson of Spartanburg on Sha Lane and traveled a 30-mile route through the city to Delaney’s Irish Pub downtown.
Eric Elder, one or the ride’s organizers, said proceeds from the ride will go toward the medical bills of an ailing local law enforcement officer. The proceeds from the memorial ride in 2017 went toward Harris’ family.
“This is just our way of showing respect to blue lives plus Jason Harris,” Elder said. “We want to show fallen officers respect because they protect us.”
Sgt. Justin Colegrove of the Spartanburg Police Department was among those who participated in the ride.
“We appreciate the support from these guys and the community,” Colegrove said. “After a year has passed, people still remember the sacrifices.”
Michael and Amber Clayton of Spartanburg decided to show their support. They hoped the ride would also raise awareness for drivers to be aware of bikers on the road. Clayton said he started riding bikes in 2017.
“It’s good to be here to support Jason Harris and his family,” Clayton said. “We just wanted to take part in it.”
Shortly after Harris’ death, Harley Davidson of Spartanburg sold memorial patches in honor of Harris, with proceeds going to Harris’ family. A large American flag was on display at the business for a period after his death, allowing people to sign the flag in his memory.
There are still memorial patches available for sale at the business.
“We are glad to be part of this ride and support all law enforcement,” Harley Davidson General Merchandise Manager Goldie Coleman said.
Several of the lead bikers flew American flags from their bikes as they departed the parking lot. Other bikers wore memorial patches on their jackets, showing support for fallen law enforcement throughout the state.