Maryland State trooper to ride for fallen Grayson County deputy - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Maryland State trooper to ride for fallen Grayson County deputy

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GRAYSON COUNTY -- Within their community, law enforcement officers are like family.

When Grayson County Deputy Chad Key died on-duty a little more than a year ago, officers from as far away as Houston and Arkansas showed up to pay their respects.

Now, one more trooper -- 1,200 miles away -- is honoring Deputy Key, in his own way.

They ride for the brave, for those with enough courage to wear a badge to work every day. But one day, they didn't come home.

"He's never met Deputy Key," Grayson County Lt. Rickey Wheeler said. "He does not know him."

This week, Maryland State Police Trooper Billy Talbert will be among the 110 people pedaling from Philadelphia to Washington DC for National Police Week.

"It's just very emotional for me," Talbert said.

Talbert's father was also police officer who died from complications resulting from an accident while on-duty.

Like Deputy Key, he was hit by a drunk driver.

"My personal goal is to ride every year, ride as many times as I can in honor of a police officer who was struck and killed by a drunk driver," Talbert said.

Talbert will still wear a bracelet for his father this year but he's riding in honor of Deputy Key who was killed while directing traffic the night of April 20, 2013.

There's now a wall dedicated to him just inside the Sheriff's Office doors.

"In the short conversations that we've had over the phone and with the Grayson County Sheriff's Office, you can feel the sense of appreciation, not only from the family but also from people who knew Deputy Key," Talbert said.

The main goal of the Unity Tour is to raise awareness of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

"We were honored that he selected Chad Key," Lt. Wheeler said

Riders also raise money for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.

Deputy Key is one of 286 newly-inscribed names to be added to the wall this year. They're names will be dedicated in a ceremony next week once bikers from across the country arrive in the nation's capital.

Lt. Wheeler and Deputy Key's wife will be at the finish line.

For riders, it's not a race. Instead it's a time to pause for thought for those who've lost while putting their own life on the line.

National Police Week will include a candlelight vigil that can be streamed live online at www.unitedbylight.org.

The man convicted of killing Deputy Key was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

He has asked a judge for an appeal. The judge has until later this month to rule on that request.