News 12 at 6 o'clock / Saturday, April 20, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Deputy J.D. Paugh lost his life back in 2011 after being shot and killed while stopping to help a car he saw on the side of the interstate. This is the second year friends and family have come together to honor him.
Over 300 bikes came along for the 30-mile ride, and his family told News 12 they are happy the community is still keeping Paugh in mind.
"I think it's wonderful. It makes me so proud," said Anita Paugh, mother of Deputy Paugh.
Deputy Paugh may have lost his life, but his mother says he's not forgotten.
"Oh, I think about him every day. I think of the things we used to do. How much I love him, how much I miss him," she said.
His mother isn't the only one who hasn't forgotten him. Over 350 bikers also think about Paugh and that's why they came out to ride on Saturday.
"It's amazing. It doesn't surprise me," said one rider.
Bikers began registering at 10 a.m. Saturday. Hundreds of bikes lined up, but one bike took the spotlight.
Saturday was the first time Paugh's bike had been ridden since he passed away, but what made it special was the person who was riding it. Eric Groothand, Paugh's stepbrother, rode the bike Saturday afternoon.
"I asked Bobby, his brother, if we could use his bike in the ride, and he thought it was a good idea," Groothand said.
Paugh's brother was not the only who thought it was a good idea.
Organizers also liked the plan and had a message for Groothand.
"Well then, you're riding up front, you're leading the ride. No better symbol of J.D. than having him straight up front," Groothand said.
So, as the crowds of bikes were getting ready to hit the road, Paugh's mother said she's sure he was watching.
"Oh, I think he'd love it. He'd be so proud," she said.
And his community is extremely proud of him, too.
Last year, the ride collected $ 25,000 for The Deputy J.D. Paugh Memorial Fund. All proceeds go to helping law enforcement officers in the area.
If you couldn't make it to Saturday's ride, join the bikers on Monday nights. They meet at Crazy Turks for a bike night that was started by Deputy Paugh.