Stafford Police Thank AT&T Store Owner for Unity Tour Role

Mar 13, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

“It’s a privilege just to be associated with these guys,” Brian Wainwright said Monday morning as he accepted a token of thanks from the Stafford Township Police Department for his years of support of the department’s annual participation in the Police Unity Tour.

The Unity Tour is a large-scale, long-distance, awareness-boosting, fundraising bicycle ride to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor the sacrifices of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Since it was first organized in 1997, the event has grown to include about 2,500 riders nationwide. Stafford belongs to the Central Jersey Chapter.

Officers presented Wainwright and his staff at The Wireless Experience AT&T store in Manahawkin with a Police Unity Tour commemorative shadow box – a framed compilation of items including a rider's jersey, photographs of the memorial and the Capitol and an engraved placard.

Chief Thomas Dellane will participate in his fourth ride this year. Training starts in his basement, he explained, where he has a flywheel for his bike. As soon as the weather breaks he’ll be outside logging road miles in preparation for the 300-mile trek.

For Patrolman Chris Smith, training is mostly a matter of getting his body accustomed to the seat, he said. Speaking from past experience, he said, heading out for a four-day bike ride without any advance conditioning is not advised.

The ride starts in Monmouth County and merges with more and more riders along the route. The massive group will arrive at the memorial on May 12. The next day is a candlelight vigil for fallen heroes, survivors and families. It’s a very moving experience, Dellane said.

Wainwright has always been “a huge supporter” of the local police, Dellane said. Wainwright opened his first store in Manahawkin over 20 years ago; he now has 80 stores in four states. (He also owns Fantasy Island Amusement Park in Beach Haven.)

As his business has grown, Wainwright likes to “stay mindful of those who helped us get our start.” Community has always been one of his core values, he said. The Unity Tour is one “opportunity for us to give back.”

In addition to monetary support, his store also provides moral support in the way of banners and flags to cheer the riders on as they come through town. —V.F.

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