Loriann Tobin’s thoughts drifted off to her husband of 28 years as she saw the bevy of law enforcement officers riding bikes in his honor during the annual Project 999 ride that begins in Sacramento and finishes at the OC Sheriff Academy in Tustin.
“It was very emotional,” she said, as she and others met the officers in Long Beach as they approached the Orange County line around 2 p.m. Wednesday. “All these people coming together for us — it’s just a beautiful experience. My husband was an avid bicyclist and this is an event that he always wanted to do for the brotherhood. The fact that I’m here makes me feel like he’s here with us.”
Her husband, Anaheim Police Det. Jeffrey Tobin, died last October after a year-long battle with brain cancer. She and Michelle Alexander, the widow of Placentia Lt. Ken Alexander, who died last November after a heart attack, were invited to the last leg of the annual Project 999 Memorial Ride as a way to honor their husbands. Both men were 48.
Project 999 was founded in 1980 by then Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates. The Memorial Ride is its annual fundraiser and was founded in 2001 by the late Orange County Sheriff Lt. Daryl Poncy. This year the ride raised approximately $5,000.
After meeting up in Long Beach, both Loriann and Michelle joined a motorcade and followed the riders to the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy.
Michelle Alexander said her husband would have been touched by the show of support.
“For me it is very emotional because Ken was such a supporter of 999,” she said. “He rode for six years. It brought tears to my eyes. I think he would be smiling. He’d be really happy and honored.”