GRAETTINGER, Ia. — Every year RAGBRAI holds Law Enforcement Appreciation Day to thank the people in uniform who keep cyclists safe during the ride.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Michael Messerich is on a bike this week for another purpose: honoring fallen police officers and helping families who have lost officers in their lives.

That’s why he’s riding with C.O.P.S. – Iowa Concerns of Police Survivors.

“It shows their family their loved one is not forgotten,” Messerich said.

The group works to help families rebuild after the loss of a loved one. During RAGBRAI, the team is visiting families who have experienced an officer death.

“For some of them, this is the first time their officer has been recognized,” Messerich said.

In Graettinger, one of the families they met chose to ride with the group.

“Just talking with them brings a lot of emotions,” Messerich said.