More than 130 street-legal vehicles take part in race to honor late MP – Reuters
LaFAYETTE — Saturday’s Fallen Hero Memorial Honor Run for Deputy J’Mar Abel was a great success. More than 130 motorcycles and street-legal vehicles have been registered to take part in the 42-mile ride through northern Chambers County. Some attendees drove several hours away to pay their respects to the fallen officer.
One of Abel’s high school teachers drove eight hours from Florida to be there.
“It couldn’t have gone better,” said ride organizer Candy Miles. “We were very pleased with the turnout and know we raised a lot of money for the family. It will take us several days to count everything.
Most of the money will go into a trust fund for Abel’s 4-year-old son, Bryson and Gianna, Deputy Abel’s unborn child who is due in late August. Part of the funds will also contribute to birth costs.
On June 20, Abel was killed when he lost control of his patrol car while assisting the Roanoke Police Department in pursuing a suspect along Chambers County Road 278 between Roanoke and LaGrange. The single-vehicle crash happened a short distance past the intersection at Hickory Flat. In thanks for Abel, the Roanoke Fire Department placed their ladder truck near that intersection during the noon hour Saturday. The raised ladder displayed a giant American flag and a banner displaying the likeness of Abel’s badge. It had been made especially for the ride by Norman’s Sign Shop of Lanett.
RFD Chief Ronald Cameron said the city of Roanoke wanted to show some respect to an officer who lost his life helping his officers in a pursuit.
June 20 was Abel’s second anniversary with the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office. He had been hired on June 20, 2020 and was a jailer during his first year on the job and transferred to the deputy position on June 20, 2021.
Before the ride began, former Valley Police Chief Tommy Weldon gave young Bryson a tour of the courthouse on the back of his motorbike. The young boy loved it. Bryson rode with his mother, Jasmine Gaddist, in a yellow Transformer Camaro-style convertible. The car was driven by Brandon Horton of Columbus. It was a beautiful ride, and Bryson especially liked it when Chief Deputy Richard Carter flew over the procession in a helicopter.
“I was very happy with everything,” Sheriff Sid Lockhart said. “It was a wonderful day. I was especially happy to see the local firefighters out in force along the route.
Just past where US 431 branches off from Highway 77 on the north side of LaFayette, the Huguley Fire Department had their big truck displaying the American flag and a banner depicting Captain Jason Fuller’s insignia. The Five Points Fire Department had their vehicles in front of the station with flashing red lights on as the motorcade passed.
Lt. Michael Creighton of the Auburn Police Department Motorcycle Unit rode more than 100 motorcycles along the course. He was accompanied by Sgt. Wiley Maulvin and Officer Joey Forbes.
Four black and gold SUVs from the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office led the motorcade. Sheriff Lockhart led the lead unit. They had their flashing blue lights all the way. Then came the group of APD motorcycles, the yellow convertible with Jasmine and Bryson, then several vehicles with 13 close friends and family members of Abel. There was a very long line of motorcycles after that.
The motorcade pulled out of the north side of the courthouse and headed north along the 431 through Buffalo, White Plains, Five Points and Stroud before making a right at Welch and heading towards Hickory Flat and Standing Rock before taking another right onto CR 266, looping through Fredonia and back to Five Points, where they look left and back to LaFayette.
While the ride served as a memorial to a fallen hero, the afternoon portion of the event on the east side of the courthouse was more of a celebration of life with inflatable rides for kids, lots of great food and music played by a dee jay.
“I think everyone enjoyed it,” Miles said. “The food vendors did well and everyone enjoyed what they were cooking.”
BJ’s Butt House and The Little Red Caboose were the food vendors. The kids enjoyed the inflatables, especially going down the Monster Truck Slide.
“It lasted until about three hours from the center,” Miles said. “A lot of us were dead tired by that time. We had done a lot that day, but it was for a good cause.
Miles and other members of the Fuller Memorial Biker Group are planning another event for mid to late September. Its theme will be suicide awareness and will be a musical event taking place in the LaFayette area.
“We plan to have two annual hikes,” she said, “one in the spring for the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch and another in the fall for Deputy Abel’s family.”