The Illinois Concerns for Police Survivors were on
their annual bike ride raising awareness for their cause. Typically
referred to as ICOPS, the group offers the invaluable service of
emotional support to families of police officers who die in the line
of duty in Illinois.
That service includes teams of volunteers who stand at the ready for
when the worst call of a police officer family’s life comes. Members
of the group rush to be with those family members, offering
emotional support, a shoulder to cry on and also lean on through the
days ahead and help with planning and repairing for the final
resting of a hero. Afterward though, they don’t just go away never
to be seen or heard from again. The ICOPS program offers support
throughout the life of the survivors as needed.
This support includes youth camps for children of fallen officers.
The camps consist of children all of whom have suffered similar
losses of a parent. The camp offers counselling, but moreover, a
time to interact and share their feelings and struggles with other
youth who understand the emotional trauma of losing a parent in the
line of duty.
On Friday, the group endured a damp ride all day. However, not long
after passing Lincoln on Route 66 headed for their lunch stop in
Atlanta, the group encountered a deluge of rain that left them
soaked to the bone.
As they rode into Atlanta in intense rain, supporters stood outside
the Atlanta Firehouse cheering them in, in the pouring down rain.
With the stop, the group found respite from the rain, but they also
found a hot, carb-loaded meal provided by the Eminence Church in
rural Atlanta. That meal and the dry shelter would boost their
energy and get them through the balance of the day.
The church has been providing a hot meal for the riders for the past
several years. They first began doing the lunch breaks at the
Atlanta Fire House. A few years ago, the group altered their route
away from Route 66 because they wanted to make a stop in Tremont to
honor a fallen officer. That year, the church worked with the
Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District station to provide a location
to serve the biking officers.
The group continued to serve food at the Lincoln fire house for the
next couple of years.
This year, the ICOPS returned to Atlanta because of their biking
schedule. They were going to be in Lincoln too early to eat lunch,
so once again this year; the meal was served in Atlanta.
The officers and their State Police motorcycle escorts enjoyed a
meal of lasagna, salad, and light refreshing desserts.
Before sitting down for their meal there were a few business items
that the group needed to address.
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Pat and Norm Mueller of Atlanta arrived at the firehouse with a surprise. The
couple had decided that they wanted to contribute to the mission of the ICOPS.
They arrived with a generous donation in hand and presented it to a member of
Marsha Fernandes was on hand with two by four’s for the first Veteran Tiny Home
building project to start this week. She spoke to the group about the mission of
the Central Illinois Veterans Commission and 2 X 4’s of Hope. She asked them to
come and sign a board for the first veteran recipient.
A number of officers took the opportunity to put personal messages on the
When an officer dies in the line of duty it is referred to by his counterparts
as the “end of watch.” Part of the ICOPS ride purpose is to remember and honor
those officers and note their end of watch by reading their end of watch report.
Reports were read aloud for two of the officers who saw their end of watch in
2020. A moment of silence was observed after each report.
Eminence Pastor Henry Johnson welcomed the ICOPS and later delivered a prayer
seeking God’s protection of the officers on their journey and a blessing on the
food prepared to strengthen them.
Then it was time to enjoy a hearty meal.
Many of the officers were wet and tired when they arrived in Atlanta, but they
would leave revived and ready for the next leg of their journey. Speaking with
one officer he said that the ICOPS have ridden in all weather conditions. He
personally said he preferred heat of rain. He said when the rain comes down, it
doesn’t actually hurt as it hits him, but it weighs him down and just makes the
peddling that much harder.
As the group came around Lincoln on the Route 66/55 loop, they were on a double
lane road. Escort vehicles kept an eye on traffic behind the bikers and signaled
when it was okay for cars to pass the bikes. Some of those cars rolled down
their windows and shouted encouragement and greetings to the riders. One officer
on the ride talked about that saying that it is so very good when people call
out to them and give them some love. She noted “It makes me think, yes, I can do
this, I can peddle one more mile, because those people care and want me to.”
To learn more about the ICOPS or offer support visit their website at
Concerns of Police