HATTIESBURG, MS. - After the murders of Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate in May of 2015 after a routine traffic stop, the community has come together to support the two officers, Hattiesburg Police Department, and their families.
Jerry Styron started the Deen and Tate End of Watch Ride and since then has kept the legacy alive for the two fallen officers.
“I have a nephew that is in the law enforcement and you know I have a reasonable expectation that I am going to work and I am going to come home" said Styron a nurse at Forrest General Hospital.
He added, "These guys go out to work every day and you hope they come home.” The motorcycle ride takes place every Spring. Motorcyclists ride a 75 mile radius across the Pine Belt to raise money for the families of Deen and Tate.
Styron said, “The motorcycle clubs will come out here, the Gold Wing clubs will come." He added, "We had clubs come from Louisiana, we had clubs as far as Florida come."
"They come out and ride, the biking community in Hattiesburg is very strong" he said. Since the first ride in 2015 it has grown every year. It even joined forces with the Pine Belt Community Foundation.
Today the donations support law enforcement officers and their families with their education.
“If a police officer gets hurt in the line of duty and he can’t be a Policeman it will help him pay for college and go re-train in something."
He said, "If, heaven forbid, he got killed, then his family, like his son or daughter, it will help pay their schooling.”
Styron said he never thought it would grow each year, all he wanted to do was support his local officers.
“Law enforcement nationwide is sort of under siege now" Styron said.
"The very same people who complain about them, they are the very ones who want a policeman there (for something)" said Styron.
"So you just have to support and do what is right, and the good Lord lead me to do this, and this is what I did.”
To learn more about the Deen and Tate endowment you can click here.