For the second straight year, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Eddie O’Toole will take part in a grueling mountain bike race to raise money for, and awareness of, first responder mental health.
This Saturday, O’Toole is set to compete in the Baker’s Dozen Mountain Bike Race at a farm north of Leesburg in an effort to raise awareness of the high suicide rate among law enforcement personnel. It’s an issue close to his heart, not only because of his time as a first responder, but O’Toole also is a close family friend of Billy Hurley III, the PGA golfer whose father Willard Hurley Jr., a former police officer, committed suicide in 2015.
Suicide among law enforcement personnel is a growing concern, he said, as officers are constantly exposed to stressful environments, violence and disturbing situations. Internalizing the emotions surrounding their line of work is all too common, O’Toole said, but the nonprofit for which he is riding in support—The Badge of Life—seeks to be an arm of psychological assistance for the law enforcement community. In a nod to the typical day of a law enforcement officer, O’Toole will ride the entire 13-plus-hour race route in his Sheriff’s Office uniform. His goal is to complete at least 12 laps, which would total more than 100 miles.
To support O’Toole’s efforts and donate to The Badge of Life, go to gofundme.com/ride-for-our-lives.