American Legion World Series Partners with Road to Hope Bike Ride

SHELBY, NC – Jan. 27, 2020 — The 5K Race that kicks off The North Carolina American Legion 7th Inning Stretch Festival each August will be a fund raiser this year for the Road to Hope Bike Ride, a 529-mile annual ride from Shelby to Washington, DC, each May. The ride ends at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, which lists the names of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty from as far back as 1791.

Riders from Shelby in the past have included Stephen Brackeen and James Brackeen, brother and father, respectively, of Tim Brackeen, a Shelby Police Department officer who died in the line of duty in 2016. Mayor Stan Anthony and law enforcement officers from Cleveland and Gaston counties have participated, also. The purpose of the ride is to honor fallen law enforcement officers and support the family members left behind.

The Executive Committee of Cleveland County ALWS Baseball Inc., the local committee that plans and implements The American Legion World Series (ALWS) each August, has determined that proceeds from the 2020 5K registration fees will go to Road to Hope Bike Ride.

“The ALWS has honored our local law enforcement officers in the past with challenge coins and free admission to the games,” says ALWS Committee Chairman Eddie Holbrook. “Also, we have shared 5K registration fees with Tim Brackeen’s survivors for three years. We are hoping that our support of the Road to Hope Bike Ride will encourage even more runners to participate and give people who don’t run an avenue to contribute to this worthy cause. Nonrunners can register for the race as phantom runners with the aim of assisting the fundraising effort.” Click here to Register.

Stephen Brackeen, chaplain for the Shelby Police Department, says, “The hometown roots of the ALWS and Road to Hope Shelby inspire me. These two organizations together have brought amazing healing to my spirit in the loss of my brother Tim Brackeen. They represent what a community can do when they unite for a common cause. Road to Hope Shelby exists to support law enforcement families during unexpected life trials. With the support of ALWS, Road to Hope will be able to further its mission of hope and healing.

“Tim loved not only his law enforcement family but his Shelby family. He served and sacrificed to keep both safe. I am so honored Tim’s memory is carried forward with such a powerful impact.”

Holbrook is grateful for the part law enforcement officers play during the ALWS and its related events.

“Local law enforcement officers and their work with us during the 7th Inning Stretch Festival, the Host City Welcome and the ALWS games are key to the success of all our events and we look for ways to show our appreciation,” he says.

“King Construction and Personalize It!, a local Shelby screen printing, monogramming and embroidery business, are the sponsors of this year’s 5K. Our Festival sponsors make this entire event possible and the community’s response is heartening.”

The registration fee for runners and phantom runners is $25; veterans and law enforcement officers who are runners will pay $15. Phantom runners will not receive race T-shirts or race bags. The 2019 5K had 153 participants; the ALWS committee is hoping that number doubles for 2020.

The ALWS is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Shelby-Cleveland County this year. The ALWS committee is planning various emphases and events to commemorate the milestone, among them the fundraising effort for the Road to Hope Bike Ride.

The Road to Hope Bike Ride is a project of Law Enforcement United, which supports programs that include Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), Kids Camp, Young Adult Camp, Outward Bound, college scholarships, retreats, training and counseling, equipment grants and The Spirit of Blue Foundation.

The 2020 7th Inning Stretch Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8.