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The ride to raise money for MADD mirrors the work of Sgt. Ron Harrison.
By ROBBYN MITCHELL, Times Staff Writer
Published November 25, 2007
[Ross Mantle | Times]
BRANDON - Tanisha Drummond snapped pictures of the dozens of bikers as they flipped their kickstands, smiled and prepared to "Ride for Ron."
Nearly 200 motorcyclists were gathered Saturday afternoon to honor her father, slain Hillsborough sheriff's Sgt. Ron Harrison, who was ambushed while on duty Aug. 14.
"I feel good about this," she said. "I remember he used to ride when I was younger for the Sheriff's Office, so this is a nice way to honor him."
Minutes before the riders set off from the Old Town Harley-Davidson to head to Quaker Steak and Lube in Clearwater, her brother Reginald thanked them for their support.
"This means so much to us," he said. "We appreciate all that you're doing."
The ride raised more than $4,000 for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an organization Harrison supported as head of the sheriff's DUI unit.
Judy Gentry, a co-founder of Hillsborough County's MADD chapter, can't even remember when she met Harrison because they worked together so long.
"He was very important to us," she said. "And he cared a lot about keeping impaired drivers off the road."
Police motorcycle clubs came out in force dressed in their best leathers, including the Iron Pigs, Defenders and Blue Knights.
They left the Harley-Davidson site in groups of 20 or 30 because of safety concerns.
Debbie and Larry Berg of Brandon, whose son works with the DUI unit, came out to support the ride because of Harrison's impact on the community.
"Ron did a lot," Debbie Berg said. "I think it's an awesome way to remember his legacy."
Tom Bobrowski, who organized the ride, said Harrison was his mentor.
"He took me under his wing and taught me about DUI work and checkpoints," the USF police officer said. "This was my way of dealing with the whole thing."
Bobrowski, 40, spent three months organizing the charity ride. He had some support from friends, but did most of the work on his own.
"The mistakes this year are mine," he yelled over the roaring engines. "And that's how I wanted it."
Bobrowski talked his way into sponsorships from Harley-Davidson, Barney's Motorcycles and Marine Store, Barnacles Restaurant and Quaker Steak and Lube.
And he hopes next year's ride will be even bigger.
"We'll be able to promote it better next time," he said. "I think people want to be involved."
Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at 813 269-5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Last modified November 24, 2007, 22:46:22]