By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item
DANVILLE — Two law enforcement officers from Montour and Columbia counties want to participate in the annual Road to Hope Bike Ride which aids survivors of officers killed in the line of duty.
But each needs to raise $1,350 by March 30.
Montour County Deputy Sheriff Bill Beitz and Hemlock Township Cpl. Charlie Dietterick are seeking contributions so they can bike in the event, May 9-12, from Reading to Washington, D.C. They are about halfway to their fundraising goals.
The annual memorial ride will benefit Law Enforcement United, Concerns of Police Survivors and the Officer Down Memorial Page. There is an Officer Down Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Concerns of Police Survivors assists survivors and co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The Officer Down Memorial Page honors America’s fallen law enforcement heroes.
This will be the first time Beitz and Dietterick will be part of the ride, expected to attract 500 bicyclists across the U.S. This will be their longest ride.
Riders must be active or retired law enforcement officers or immediate family members of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
Beitz learned of the event in a sheriff’s magazine.
”I think it’s a terrific organization. The board of Law Enforcement is all volunteer law enforcement so as much as the funds as possible go to survivors,” he said.
He got Dietterick onboard. “We ride together all the time,” said Beitz, a Montour County deputy sheriff for four years and former deputy sheriff in Columbia County for 14 years and in Lancaster County for five years.
He and Dietterick expect to ride May 9-11 and attend a closing ceremony and candlelight program in Washington, D.C. They will stay in hotels along the way.
“There’s a division that starts in the south and rides north. We will meet them in Maryland and all ride in together,” said the 44-year-old Beitz who lives in Millville.
Pledges can be made by calling him at 570-394-7388 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beitz started biking last spring to get in shape and by the end of the summer had logged 150 miles a week. “I made up my mind Thanksgiving 2011 that I needed to lose weight,” said Beitz, who weighed 298 pounds then. “I didn’t like that number so I cut out all carbs — potatoes, pasta and bread. In three months, I had lost 30 pounds with no exercise,” said the 5-foot-11-inch Beitz, who is now 72 pounds lighter.
He started walking, but it bothered one of his knees.
“I tried riding a bike. I had always liked riding a bike as a kid,” he said.
His brother, Lance Beitz, who lives in the Millville area, and Dietterick join him on rides. “They kept me motivated,” Beitz said.
His wife, Chandra, joins him on trail bike rides.
Their kids, Dalton, 12, and Malea, 10, ride with him for three miles. “I drop them off and go on,” he said.
Beitz started out with a used $75, 24-speed mountain bike. “I had asked the sheriff (Ray Gerringer) if I could ride a bike to serve papers and he said I could,” he said.
He used his own money to buy the bike, which he started using last spring to serve papers in Danville.
He now has a Felt F-5 handmade carbon fiber 20-speed bike he plans to use in the 250-mile ride. He also has a Cannondale which is a hybrid for rail trails and some road riding and a road bike. Their kids and his wife use the other bikes.
“I’d like to do a race this summer to prove I can finish,” he said.
During the winter, he stays in shape on a spin bike and a stair machine. Dietterick works out on an indoor bike and treadmill in winter.