JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- It's a line of work that puts them in the line of fire. And on Sunday, the community came together outside Columbine High School to support and honor the Brothers in Blue.
More than 500 people turned out for the MC-1 Honor Run that’s in its third year. But each year represents an officer critically injured or killed in the line of duty.
This year, they rode in honor of Denver police Sgt. Tony Lopez Jr. A suspect nearly shot him to death during a traffic stop in December.
"Thank you all for coming here. We don't choose tragedy. But we can choose our response," said one of the supporters of the motorcycle run, John-Michael Keyes, whose daughter Emily Keyes died in a shooting at Platte Canyon High School in September 2006.
"MC-1 is the call sign of Dave Baldwin. He was my sergeant in 2014. He was killed on duty, on his motorcycle on Highway 93," said Mark Miller, president of the MC-1 Foundation and a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy.
"Now, we are going release these balloons in memory of all the officers who lost their life in the line of duty in keeping us safe. This is for you," said former Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis as a group launched dozens of blue balloons into the bright blue sky.
"These guys put their life on the line every day. And they don't expect the support. So to get it, is just grace," said Crystal, the widow of Dave Baldwin.
"We want to honor them. That's why we ride. We take days off, sick leave to be here for them," said 37-year Denver officer Dennis Chavez.
Last year, they honored Denver officer John Adsit, who was run over by a driver during a student protest in December 2014.
And now it's Lopez Jr., shot five times by suspect Jason Wood.
"To do this in (Baldwin's) his name is very special for me and my wife. And we are very honored and humble to be here," Lopez said.
He escaped with his life, welcomed a new one (his baby boy, Antonio VI) and now is working to get well enough to return to work.
"He's fighting to recover and he's got a long road ahead of him," Miller said.
So they hit the road and took off on motorcycles. But for one special survivor, an SUV is the way to ride, as Lopez goes full-speed ahead toward healing.
"The support has been great. Just support the police because we are here to help you," he said.
The ride will also give donations to two other officers. Park County sheriff's Deputy Colby Martin was wounded in an ambush that killed fellow deputy Cpl. Nate Carrigan.
And Arapahoe County sheriff's Deputy Bill Foreman Jr. was hurt in a car accident responding to a homicide investigation.