Di Febo’s Restaurant in Bethany Beach is organizing a police escorted, traffic free motorcycle ride to raise money for a fallen officers’ education fund.
The “1st Annual Ride to the Beach” is scheduled for Sunday, April 24, with a silent auction, barbeque and bike raffle to follow.
Di Febo’s Jeff Osias said they were working in partnership with Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), and local COPS contact Capt. Richard Pulling of the Delaware State Police (DSP).
Pulling’s brother, Cpl. David Pulling, died in the line of duty, and was survived by his wife and two sons.
Following his death, family and friends organized an annual softball tournament in his honor and established a children’s education fund with the proceeds.
Similarly, COPS assists spouses and children of officers who have fallen in the line of duty (and whose death benefits do not include tuition-free education).
Now, the gang at Di Febo’s hopes to contribute to those efforts, too.
“This could be a nice legacy,” Osias pointed out. “If we can get something started, hopefully it will continue every year.”
He said DSP’s Capt. Greg Nolt had been a big help, offering guidance on how best to set up and raise money for such a fund.
The big plan, according to Osias, would be to put money away in an account over a four- to five-year period, and then start distributing the interest as scholarships.
“This whole thing started because we saw the infrastructure — fire and police — needed more support,” Osias said. He noted efforts at the state level to bring another police station to lower Sussex (Route 54) as evidence.
Osias has a personal connection as well — his sister, Jeanne, is a police officer in New York.
“We asked ourselves — how can we help,” he said. “My wife (Lisa Di Febo-Osias) and I feel very strongly about education, and the COPS program, so that’s where we turned our focus.”
Since he started spreading the word, Osias said people had been approaching him for raffle tickets ($20 gets you a shot at a $15,000 Harley Davidson Softtail). He even ran into one individual in the Ocean View Deli who’d gone to college on a COPS scholarship after his father died in the line of duty.
Local businesses had started to get involved as well, Osias said — he thanked attorney Joe Raskauskas and builder Mike Lynn in particular for helping to get the event off the ground.
“As people learn about it, they’ve just been coming in, telling me they want to get involved,” he said.
People don’t have to be riders to come by for the pig roast and silent auction, Osias pointed out — and if someone wants a motorcycle, but doesn’t have one, the raffle might solve their problem.
For the riders, Osias said all bikes were welcome — not just Harleys. He expected people would start gathering around 10 a.m., to set out for a police escorted 80- to 100-mile spin at 11:30.
Pre-registration will be $35 per person, registration on the day of the event $5 more.
Osias said 100 percent of those fees would go aid the families of fallen officers, plus 99 percent of the proceeds from the bike raffle.
For more information, call 539-4550.