Keith Reed has participated in motorcycle events for years, but he’d never been quite so moved by a ride as he was on Sunday.
Reed helped organize a motorcycle run to benefit the Officer Brian Shaw Scholarship Fund. The New Kensington police officer was shot and killed in November following a traffic stop and foot chase.
“It was probably the most impactful motorcycle ride,” Reed said. “I think maybe today there can be some healing.”
Nearly 650 motorcycles participated in the roughly 45-minute ride from New Kensington to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 894 in Harrison. The group, escorted by police, rode through New Kensington, Allegheny Township, Leechburg, Gilpin, Ford City, Ford Cliff, Freeport and Harrison. They stopped in New Kensington to leave flowers along Leishman Avenue near the area where Shaw was killed.
“We saw the opportunity to do something good,” said event organizer Terry McClain. “It started as a snowball and turned into a mountain.”
McClain estimated they raised at least $30,000 that will go toward the scholarship fund to help Alle-Kiski Valley residents attend the Allegheny County Police Training Academy -- the same academy Shaw graduated from in 2014. An official total wasn’t available Sunday.
“Brian was a ray of sunshine in our community,” McClain said. “This is a young kid whose smile was infectious, a positive influence on the city, on the community, and a life taken too soon.”
The event included the presentation of the Gene Montemurro Police Service Award to Shaw’s family.
The award was created in 2016, a year after longtime New Kensington cobbler Gene Montemurro was robbed at gunpoint inside his Fifth Avenue business, Gene’s Shoe Service. The award honors police officers who have gone above and beyond in their communities.
Ron Balla, a member of the award committee, said there was no question this year’s award would be given to the Shaw family. He said it was an honor to give it to them.
“It gave everybody an opportunity to come out today and show their support, show that they care--and I think it’s really needed today,” Balla said.
Coming off the success of Sunday’s bike run, organizers hope to make the fundraiser an annual event to honor not only Shaw, but police officers everywhere.
“After witnessing the good that came out of today, you almost think it would be selfish not to do it (again),” Reed said.