McALLEN — The families of two officers killed in the line of duty here wept as a caravan of motorcyclists rode into the police department Monday as part of an 84-day cross country tour to honor the fallen.
Beyond the Call of Duty, a motorcycle law enforcement organization, stopped in McAllen and Mission on Monday to pay tribute to the late police officers Edelmiro Garza Jr., Ismael Chavez and Jorge Cabrera.
In McAllen, the riders were followed by an “End of Watch Ride to Remember 2020” memorial bus which bore the names and photos of 338 men and women who died in the line of duty last year.
The stops in McAllen and Mission were two of 194 that the nonprofit organization will make between now and late August in their mission to remember the fallen throughout the country.
Jagrut Shah, chairman and founder of Beyond the Call of Duty, said the organization will travel over 22,500 miles in 84 days.
Shah said he founded the group two years ago to remind families that their loved ones will never be forgotten.
The chairman spoke about the ultimate sacrifice that these officers made to protect their community and reminded officers to never forget their fallen policemen.
“They all have a name; they all have family; they all have history,” Shah said.
Garza and Chavez were shot and killed in the line of duty on July 11, 2020. Police reported they were ambushed while responding to a domestic disturbance call, saying the shooter was waiting for officers at his front door and shot them before they could draw their weapons.
Cabrera, a Mission police officer, died Aug. 24, 2020, after contracting COVID-19 while on duty. He served the Mission Police Department for 12 years.
Almost a year after their tragic deaths, the families and officers of both communities continue to mourn them, but events like the ones held Monday help the healing process.
“It gives us time to provide comfort to each other and provide comfort to the families,” McAllen Captain Irene Luna said.
Chavez’s father, Ismael Chavez Sr., said the McAllen Police Department has been supportive of his family as it handles the loss, and he was honored to have his son remembered.
Chavez was a teacher for many years, his father said, but he wanted to join law enforcement to give back to his community.
He served two years with the department.
Gloria Ortiz, Garza’s sister, said she appreciated the community’s efforts to remember her brother.
“It’s an honor for us because we knew how much he loved his job,” Ortiz said.
Officer Garza served the McAllen Police Department for nine years.
The McAllen officers’ names have been engraved on the police department’s Peace Memorial wall where Luna says they serve as a constant reminder to their fellow officers that they died serving the McAllen community.