Ride raises funds for Falls family

Published 8:09 am Friday, July 24, 2009

FRANKLIN—Saturday’s benefit for the family of Sgt. Gary D. Falls drew a large crowd, and raised more than $5,000.

The Franklin Police Department organized the event, which included a motorcycle ride and barbecue. Lt. Tim Whitt said close to 300 people donated $5,615.81 to help Falls’ family pay medical bills, and 78 riders participated in the motorcycle ride.

“We would like to sincerely thank all of the businesses and people who gave so selflessly to make this happen,” Whitt said. “We appreciate all the support we received.”

Falls, a Vietnam veteran who was to retire on July 1 after 37 years in law enforcement with several agencies, died on June 18 following complications from heart bypass surgery. He had worked with the Norfolk Police Department, the Smithfield Police Department, and the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Franklin force in March 1998.

“Delta Sigma Theta sorority members did a great job registering the riders,” said Kimberly Rideout, Falls’ stepdaughter. “It was wonderful to see so many people out in support of Gary and our family. My mother, my sister and I were moved by Chief Phil Hardison presenting my mom with the Shadowbox of Gary’s badge, and patches from the police departments he has worked for.”

Whitt said 400 pounds of barbecue were sold at the event.

“The barbeque was delicious,” Rideout said.

Several companies and groups also contributed to the event: All Virginia Environmental Solutions, Arby’s, Smithfield Foods, Food Lion, City Paint & Supply, Ricky & Roys Catering, Hardee’s, Lipton Tea, Sunoco, Tiger Raiders, the Blue Knights, Franklin Collision Center, Vic’s Signs & Engraving, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.