Cycling for a Hero

Start of RideThe expression once a police officer, always a police officer resonates with Senior Global Cyber Security Manager Brian M.

After spending 20 years in law enforcement — first as a police officer in Chesterfield, Missouri, and then as part of the FBI’s cyber squad — Brian now runs cyber operations at Enterprise Holdings. Regardless of the cyberspace he’s patrolling, his respect for the police force led to an Enterprise Holdings Foundation grant to benefit an injured local officer.

Reminiscing about bike rides

Shortly after Cyber Monitoring Team Manager Bill B. joined Brian’s team, the pair found themselves reminiscing about cycling adventures. “We discovered we both really like to cycle and I mentioned I rode all 237 miles of the Katy Trail a few years back,” says Brian. “I barely finished my sentence before Bill eagerly said, ‘Let’s do it again.’”

Within a few days, word spread of the bike ride and two more Global Cyber Security managers asked to join. The newly formed team — Brian, Bill, Senior Cyber Incident Response Manager David H. and Senior Offensive Security Manager Alan P. — began training together after work. During one ride, Brian mentioned the only thing he regretted about his first Katy Trail adventure was not doing it for a cause. That’s when the group decided to do the ride for themselves, but make their accomplishment part of something larger.

Riding for a purpose

As the group began to search for a local cause with a nationwide impact, Brian brought to his peers’ attention the incredible need for resources for officers critically injured in the line of duty.

Brian and the group, which included two military veterans, then discovered the Gary Sinise Foundation, a nonprofit that builds specially adapted homes for wounded veterans and first responders. And it just so happened the Foundation was building a wheelchair accessible home in a St. Louis suburb for Police Officer Michael Flamion, who was shot during a traffic stop and paralyzed in 2016. Brian and the other riders all agreed the Gary Sinise Foundation was the “perfect organization to support.”

Pedaling the trail

The four cyclists loaded up two Enterprise rental vans and headed toward Clinton, Missouri, to start their journey on the Katy Trail.

“It was 82 degrees when we arrived in Clinton and ventured off on the first 17 miles before stopping at a cabin along the trail,” Brian recalls. “When we woke up the following morning for the next leg of our ride, the wind chill was in the teens and snow was blowing in our faces,” Brian says. “We rode 50 miles that day in about 7 hours, but the wind and our extra luggage made it feel like we were riding through quicksand.”

After resting overnight, the team cycled 60 miles in 10 hours on day three, once again through cold and windy weather. “We really labored over what to do, but in those conditions, it just wasn’t safe to keep riding,” explains Brian. “It was hard to quit that day, but we already have plans to finish the ride in the spring.”

Supporting a wounded officer

Even though they haven’t officially passed the finish line yet, Brian requested and received a grant for the Gary Sinise Foundation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation — the company’s philanthropic arm that donated $36.5 million in FY2017 to charitable causes on behalf of employees.

“The Gary Sinise Foundation was extremely appreciative of our support,” says Brian. “They invited us to tour the home and meet Officer Flamion, which was a very rewarding experience to see first-hand how we were able to help to an injured police officer.”

“It’s comforting to know there are those like the Taylor family and Gary Sinise who continue to fight for our nation’s defenders,” adds Bill, a military veteran. “We really appreciate Enterprise Holdings and the Gary Sinise Foundation for supporting those who defend us locally and globally. We are just the guys that rode bikes — these organizations and Officer Michael Flamion are the real MVPs.”