A group of bicyclists is traversing the state from the Mississippi River town of Alton to a fallen officers memorial near Chicago's Soldier Field. They'll be passing through Bloomington-Normal along old Route 66 Friday. Toni Hardesty's husband, FBI Special Agent Robert Hardesty, died in the line of duty in 2005. This is her fifth ride with Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), and she's president of the state chapter. The Bloomington woman is riding with her daughter Sydney, and says having boosters along the route has a huge impact on the cyclists:
"As a survivor and a rider, when you see someone alongside the road that's cheering for you, it just, it really gives you chills because it's just a, it's a bonding of the community with knowing that they care about our law enforcement officers and their families."
Hardesty says the ride is the primary fundraiser for the charity, which hosts a summer camp for surviving children ages 6-14, an Outward Bound® Experience for surviving teens ages 15-20, and retreats for adult survivors. The cyclists plan on passing under the ISU bridge over College Avenue at about a quarter after 4 Friday afternoon.
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