MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Three years ago today, the Maryville Police Department lost one of its own.
Officer Kenny Moats was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was responding to a domestic call at the time.
Sunday, officer Moats’ community is once again honoring his legacy and sacrifice with a yearly memorial ride.
WATE Six On Your Side’s Elizabeth Kuebel talked to his family and friends there. For them, this day is a hard and heart-breaking one, but they say they’re focusing on the positives and remembering the good and happy memories.
His brothers and sisters in blue lead the pack, and following right behind them, was fallen officer Kenny Moats’ car.
“Just remembering the good times. That’s what this is about. It’s not about sadness, it’s not about any of those things, it’s just about the good times and remembering our friend,” said Lt. Michael Braden with the Maryville Police Department.
The nine-year veteran of the Maryville Police Department was killed in the line of duty three years ago. Ever since, fellow law enforcement, his community and family have honored his memory with an annual motorcycle ride.
“It’s just overwhelming to see the people that come out to honor him,” said his mom, Lisa Burns.
It’s clear Moats is remembered in every aspect of this event. Kickstands went up at 1:56. That’s significant because that was Moats’ badge number.
For the men and women who served alongside him, this year’s ride is particularly special.
“All these agencies have volunteered their time to help us. So the Maryville Police Department this year we get to just ride in it and remember our friend,” said Lt. Braden.
And that’s exactly what this day is about: remembering a fallen hero and showing the officers here that they’re supported too.
“The community is coming together here to say we back you, we thank you for what you do, we thank you for putting your life on the line each and every day, and we just want to come out and show our support for you,” said organizer Nathan Way.
The ride is free, but money donated will go to the Officer Moats Foundation. That helps support the families and communities of Tennessee officer’s killed in the line of duty. Five officers statewide have lost their lives this year.