RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds of people, most on motorcycles and many in a variety of vehicles gathered in Raleigh's Coastal Credit Union Music Park. From there, they participated in a memorial ride that honored Ned Byrd, the Wake County deputy killed in the line of duty on Aug. 12.
Nathan Sheppard of Operation Fly Our Flag, a nonprofit group that organized the ride, told ABC11: "I was a former Wake County deputy, so this was really close to home to me. So I figured that we would just honor him by doing a big ride."
One woman who participated drove many miles from her home, and she has no direct ties to police or deputy work.
But Joni Medlock said she took part in Sunday's memorial ride, "Because when I heard what happened, it touched my heart and I just felt that I needed to be part of it."
Donnie Harrison, the former Wake County sheriff who is on the ballot again this fall, seemed to choke back sobs as he said: "We lost a good man, for no reason whatsoever. And to see this outpouring of support, that tells you people are behind law enforcement And we've just gotta keep on."
Sheppard said money raised from participants will help Byrd's four-legged partner.
"Registration is $20, and we've created Operation Fly Our Flag stickers that say 'WCSO Deputy Byrd' on them," he said. "That money we're going to put towards Sasha, his K-9 that was with him. Whatever she needs. Whether we can get her a tracking vest, or a new kennel. Whatever she needs at this point."
And Sheppard appreciates people like Medlock who don't have a personal connection with deputies or police but appreciates their dedication to duty.
"Because really, unless you've been there you don't know what these people face, every single day. And it goes beyond law enforcement. Firefighters, EMTs, dispatchers and military, those people really serve the community," he said. "Things can go from sugar to 'ish,' real quick. Real quick, and the amount of people showing up today shows that they still believe in law enforcement."