Deputy Nathan Jones of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office pedaled relief to his brothers and sisters in arms in Pascagoula, Miss. on Saturday.
Jones, a four-year veteran of the sheriff's office bicycle unit, left sheriff's headquarters Tuesday on his Cannondale bicycle on the Law Enforcement Ride for Relief. He was to ride more than 550 miles to take monetary donations to deputies of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department affected by Hurricane Katrina.
He was scheduled to deliver a check for nearly $2,700 to deputies at noon Saturday.
"These guys continue to work day in and day out," Jones said Tuesday before his sendoff. "And even though they lost everything, they try to help everybody else out. So I figured it was time they got help."
In September, two teams of Columbia County deputies spent two weeks assisting Jackson County deputies patrol their streets.
During a separate September trip to Pascagoula to take supplies to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Jones and other Columbia County deputies saw their comrades ill-equipped to patrol city streets.
One captain used his own vehicle because his patrol unit was destroyed in the storm, Jones said.
Seeing coverage of relief efforts made Jones want to do something for the deputies and the police officers who were affected.
"I got a chance to actually speak to some of the deputies down there that have been adversely affected," he said. "Forty-seven of them lost everything that they own."
"When he went down to see Mississippi and what Hurricane Katrina had done to the towns, he called me on the phone and said, 'I have to do something, Mom,'" said the deputy's mother, Carol Jones.
"It's what he's destined to do, and I'm very proud of him," she said, acknowledging she was nervous about her son's trip.
Nathan was accompanied by Deputies Randy Trowbridge and Mark Benson and Nathan's brother Michael Jones in a decaled Land Rover LR3 provided by Hank Aaron Jaguar and Land Rover on Washington Road. Benson rode with Nathan during a send-off from the Columbia County Sheriffs Office with other deputies and will ride intermittently with Nathan along the way.
The team planned to travel about 130 miles per day for the first four days, with a half-day Saturday.
As of Tuesday, the team arrived in Hawkinsville, Ga., at about 5 p.m. after seven hours of riding.
The support team brought Gatorade and water donated by Wal-Mart and kept in contact with family, friends and colleagues via a wireless Internet connection.
An account for the ride remains open at Wachovia Bank branches. Donations to the Law Enforcement Ride for Relief may be made at any Wachovia branch.
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