Suiting up for Sandy: What would she say?
“The first thing she would tell me is I'm crazy, says Aiken Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Karl Odenthal, “but I think she'd be proud, I really do.”
Lt. Odenthal is biking 250 miles to the National Police Memorial in memory of Officer Sandy Rogers. Training at least two hours a day, turning those wheels, is a big deal.
“You don't just pick up a bike and say, 'I'm going to ride 200 miles.' He has to train every day, rain, sleet,” says Jenny Johnson, Rogers' sister.
“It's not unusual to want to throw up, but you've got to push your body,” says former Public Safety officer Wendell Edwards.
But, there's someone helping Odenthal in the saddle.
“Sandy would be sitting on Karl's shoulder saying, 'Let's go buddy, pump it one more time, turn the wheel one more time,'” Johnson says.
Edwards also knew Officer Rogers. He's helping Lt. Odenthal train, but says that isn't a sacrifice.
“She died,” he says. “How do you train for that? When you look at a 250 mile ride compared to dying, 250 miles isn't nothing.”
That's on Odenthal's mind every time he pushes the pedals.
12:12 “when i'm going up a hill or it's near the end of the ride and I want to slow down”
He says doing this halfway isn't an option.
“I don't want her to be remembered for the way she died,” he says, “I want her to be remembered for the way she lived. Sandy is going to go wide open no matter what she did, and that's just Sandy.”
He'll take off with 1,500 other officers.
“Everyone is riding for an officer who has fallen in the line of duty, not just for fundraising,” he says. “Everyone is riding with the same heart I am.”
And there will be a lot of memories shared over those 250 miles.
“That's going to hit you in the heart,” Edwards says. “Hearing them talk about their own personal friends who they're never going to get to talk to again because they laid their life down.”
To support Lt. Odenthal's ride you can visit his page here.