Hundreds of motorcyclists rallied together Sunday morning for the 10th Annual MC-1 Foundation Honor Run. The annual fundraiser ride benefits Colorado first responders and their families, particularly those hurt or killed in the line of duty.
This year, the event roared through Littleton in honor of Denver Police Sgt. Justin Dodge. He lost his leg after he was badly hurt during the Nuggets Championship Parade in June. Dodge attended the start of the ride and was emotional as he thanked everyone.
"To just see this group here is another part of the inspiration for me to get back," he told the crowd.
Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas stood by Dodge's side and placed his hand on his shoulder as Dodge choked back tears.
"My dad was a motorcycle cop, so seeing all these bikes out here," Dodge said tearfully. "I lost [my dad] last year, so… I'd rather lose my leg ten times over than lose a loved one."
In the 14 weeks since Dodge was, he's undergone numerous surgeries and has a long road to recovery. Still, he said the tough days are made easier and he can stand tall thanks to support from the community.
"I've woke up every day with a legitimate smile on my face," said Dodge. "I go to bed with a smile on my face. Sometimes the in-between is a little bit rough, but I am resolved, not just to come back for myself and my family, but to show people you can have something catastrophic happen to you and you can get back up."
Many riders participating in the MC-1 Foundation Honor Run are first responders, like retired Arvada Firefighter Tim McChesney.
"It doesn't matter what agency, if you're in law enforcement, firefighting, driving an ambulance – we're all family," he told CBS News Colorado. "And family takes care of family."
Family is at the very core of the event. Sgt. Dodge's family will not only receive financial help but also year-round support from the non-profit as he continues his recovery.
"I can't say enough about MC-1, the support they give, and if you have any ability to MC-1, please do," said Dodge. "They do an amazing job of supporting law enforcement and first responders."
The MC-1 Foundation was started as a fundraiser motorcycle ride in 2014 for the family of Sgt. Dave Baldwin of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. He was killed in the line of duty after being struck on his motorcycle by a wrong-way driver; his radio call sign was MC-1. In the years since that first honor ride, the Foundation has provided financial assistance to many Colorado fire, EMS, and police who were injured while serving their communities.
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