Cycling For a Cause: A Co-op Member Remembers a Fallen Hero

On a cool and rainy afternoon in May, over 200 cyclists rode through downtown Lewes, making a stop at Zwaanendael Park on Savannah Road. The cyclists were completing a stretch of the Police Unity Tour that passes through Delaware on its way to Washington, D.C. Among them was Lewes native, JuneRose Futcher. As the massive group slowed to a stop alongside the park, Futcher got off her bike and walked over to a plaque in the park that honors her grandfather, fallen police officer Charles Futcher, Sr. It was an emotional moment for her and the members of her family who gathered to honor her grandfather and other Delaware officers who died serving in the line of duty. 
The Police Unity Tour takes cyclists from New Jersey to the National Law Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about law enforcement officers who have lost their lives while protecting those they were charged to protect. Through years of hard work and dedication, JuneRose Futcher — who is the first civilian from Delaware to ride in the Tour — helped organize a memorial stop on the Tour to honor her grandfather. 
“He was in a high-speed chase on Savannah Road. He lost control of his car,” said Futcher, talking about the accident that led to her grandfather’s death. Charles Futcher, Sr., was 39 years old when he passed away on Aug. 19, 1939, after serving on the police force for 10 years. “When he crashed, he sustained injuries, yet appeared to be okay. But his injuries were serious, serious enough that when he collapsed several days later, he died suddenly,” said Futcher. Officer Futcher was known as a brave and competent officer, as well as an excellent marksman. Well-liked by many in the town and county, his sudden death shocked the community and devastated his family and close friends. Charles Futcher, Sr., is the only Lewes police officer to die in the line of duty. But as time went on, JuneRose said her grandfather was almost forgotten.
Futcher decided to take it upon herself to keep her grandfather’s story alive. Through tireless work, a broad collection of information on the accident and enough newspaper clippings, photos and legal documents to fill multiple binders, JuneRose was prepared to tell Charles’ story and make sure people remembered his service and ultimate sacrifice.
The Police Unity Tour offered her a great avenue to do so. “When I met a cyclist from the Police Unity Tour, it was an epiphany. I knew I had to do this ride because it was a way to continue to honor Charles, Sr.” she said. “With the Police Unity Tour, there’s this massive number of cyclists who have lost their best friends, or family members, or their partners, or those who are just riding for the collective loss of life in law enforcement, going all the way back to the 1800s.” Futcher joined the group on their journey to the memorial in Washington, D.C., where her grandfather’s name is carved in stone. When asked about her trip, Futcher wasn’t afraid to show emotion. “I cried all week. I’m meeting these police officers who look at me and tell me they understand, and that we’re part of the family,” she said. 
Armed with her bicycle, water bottles and a sobering story of a great officer, JuneRose Futcher fit right in with the Police Unity Tour, and made a lasting impact on the people with whom she has shared her family’s experience. “This is my family. This is my flesh and blood. This is our grandfather, who died in the line of duty, which is no less than those who have died today. Because of that, the police community treats us as one of its own.”

Cycling For a Cause Images
Futcher and company
Futcher poses by memorial
Futcher's gloves and patch