Inside the Tollway
Hundreds of motorcycle riders and custom car enthusiasts met up on Saturday, July 17, at Illinois Tollway headquarters in Downers Grove for the Lieutenant Rich Kozik Memorial Park Motorcycle and Fun Car Run.
The annual fundraiser supports the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation Memorial Park, a 1.5-acre memorial tribute to fallen troopers that serves as a place of solace for their families, friends and colleagues. The park emphasizes the Illinois State Police core values of integrity, service and pride through inscriptions on various park features such as sculptures, statues and monuments.
Lieutenant Rich Kozik served the Illinois State Police for 19 years, including working in District 15 as the special operations lieutenant responsible for overseeing the motorcycle unit, among other enforcement patrols, and actively promoting the statewide “Start Seeing Motorcycles” safety campaign.
He combined his passion for motorcycles with his dedication to the Illinois State Police by coming up with the idea for a motorcycle run to raise funds for the Memorial Park, which began in 2008 with 50 riders and has since grown to more than 500 participants each year. The run was named in his honor after he passed away while on duty in 2018.
Each year, the ride departs from Tollway headquarters in Downers Grove and three other sites throughout Illinois – Dwight, Bloomington and O’Fallon. Escorted by Illinois State Police motorcycle patrol officers, participants travel along historic Route 66 and meet up at the ISP Memorial Park in Springfield.
The Tollway welcomes the event each year in support of its own Illinois State Police District – District 15 – whose troopers to patrol the Tollway system and serve the safety needs of Tollway customers.
“The Illinois Tollway shares with the Illinois State Police a commitment to protecting motorists and everyone who works on our roads,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “We appreciate their service and honor the memory of those who have sacrificed so much for the people of Illinois.”
Among the motorcycle riders and cruisers gathered at the Tollway’s parking lots were State Police supporters from the Patriots, Road Docs, Windy City, Blue Knights, American PRIDE and other motorcycle clubs. Also on display at the Downers Grove site was the 100-Year Anniversary ISP patrol car, a classic look inspired by the vehicles used by State Police in the 1950s.
Check out photos of this year’s run on Facebook at ISP-Memorial-Park-Motorcycle-and-Fun-Car-Run or on Twitter – @ISPHFMP or #ISP2021RIDE. Visit the ISP Heritage Foundation website to learn more about the Memorial Wall and ways to support the foundation.