In June, reports indicated more than 700 federal, state and local law enforcement officers across the country were injured during nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.

Meanwhile last Sunday in Henry County, law enforcement officers were not only celebrated but supported through monetary donations during a “Back the Blue and First Responders” benefit motorcycle ride.

The stark contrast was one that local law enforcement officers expressed great appreciation for Monday night as the organizer, Robert Shaffer, presented a check for $1,564 that will be split evenly between the New Castle Police Department and Henry County Sheriff’s Department.

“I think the sheriff would agree: We have no complaints as far as how we’ve been treated here in New Castle and Henry County,” New Castle Police Chief Matt Schofield said. “The communities, both in the county and the city, have been super as far as backing the police. This is just another way of the communities showing support for us.”

Shaffer, a former Henry County Jailer, said he was motivated to do something positive for people he considers unsung heroes of Henry County.

“It was basically to show our support for law enforcement and first responders for everything they do,” Shaffer said. “At this point it’s kind of an ungrateful business to be in. I support them 100 percent. I used to work for the sheriff. I appreciate everything he’s done This was just my little way to try and give back.”

The event drew 47 motorcycles and seven other vehicles on the ride that began in New Castle, continued with stops in Greenfield, Lawrence, Fishers, Noblesville, Pendleton, Anderson and Muncie before arriving back at Weenie World in New Castle. There Shaffer showed his commitment to law enforcement even more by getting in dunk tank to raise additional money.

Sheriff Ric McCorkle and Major Jay Davis – who both rode their own motorcycles in the event – praised Shaffer’s efforts.

“We appreciate everything we can get in as far as supporting our K-9 units, our dive team, our SWAT team, the sheriff’s camp – we appreciate it all,” McCorkle said. “Of course, I ride and Jay rides and when Bob mentioned this, I really appreciated. All the different departments in the county will benefit from it and hopefully it will be something we can see annually.”

“Being able to participate in the ride personally yesterday, it was enjoyable to see the support we do have in law enforcement,” Davis said. “A lot of people were there recognizing the police officers and the job that we do. We’ve all taken it on the chin quite a bit lately. It’s nice to see a thank you once in a while. As one of the law enforcement officers there, it was a treat to see that extra thank you.”

For New Castle Chief Schofield, the motorcycle event also served a valuable safety reminder for the public.

“The motorcycle rides are great. Unfortunately, we’ve had three fatalities in the city of New Castle within the last year and they’ve all involved motorcycles. I can’t stress enough to the community you have to be totally aware. You should always look a second, third and fourth time to make sure. They’re a lot smaller than a car.”

“I can’t stress enough to the community to be on the lookout for them. It’s not such a problem in the winter time, but when it’s nice out, it’s hot out, motorcycles are everywhere.”