A Columbus East High School senior is organizing a bike ride next month benefiting a nonprofit organization that assists families of fallen law enforcement officers.

Nathan Holland, 18, has organized the “Thin Blue Ride” March 24 at Mt. Healthy Elementary School as part of his senior project.

The ride will raise money for the Indiana chapter of the Concerns of Police Survivors, which supports families of officers who are killed in the line of duty. Participants in the 10 a.m. bike ride will have a choice of three courses of 10, 20 and 30 miles.

Holland has a goal of raising $1,000 during the event that is open to all ages, but he doesn’t have to look very far in getting inspiration to make a difference. His father, Steve, is a 31-year veteran of the Indiana State Police and works as a commander in Indianapolis overseeing crime labs in the state. Holland’s brother-in-law, Derek Eggers, also recently joined the Indiana State Police.

Story continues below gallery

Holland said he intends to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a career in law enforcement and plans to pursue a degree from IUPUC in psychology with a minor in criminal justice.

“I want to help people who can’t help themselves,” Holland said.

Nancee Hetrick, who spent 35 years with the West Lafayette Police Department before retiring in 2016, learned about Holland’s project after she received a phone call from him in September. Hetrick is on the national board with the COPS organization, serving as trustee overseeing the Midwest region.

The Indiana chapter of COPS was established in 1997, according to the organization’s website. Hetrick said the COPS organization plays an important role in supporting families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.

Those situations are always difficult to deal with when they occur, she added.

“When it does, it’s devastating for everybody from the department to the family to friends and for him to think of this and put this on is pretty amazing,” Hetrick said.

She plans to attend the bike ride in an effort to help raise awareness about the COPS organization and anticipates the event will draw a large crowd, especially since word continues to grow across the state.

Holland also encourages the public to come out and support the COPS organization, adding that the bike ride also will serve as another way to recognize the efforts of law enforcement.

“It helps raise awareness for the people that risk their lives for everyone else … and they’re not alone,” he said.

If you go

What: Thin Blue Ride bike ride supporting the Concerns of Police Survivors organization

When: Check in starts at 8 a.m. with the ride beginning at 10 a.m. March 24

Where: Mt. Healthy Elementary School, 123150 E. State Road 58

Cost: $20 per individual with cash or checks accepted. Money, registration and waiver forms will be filled out and accepted the day of the ride.

More information: Call Nathan Holland at 812-498-4663 or e-mail hollandn18@gmail.com.

Author photo
Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com