Riding a motorcycle to every state capital in America seems unfathomable for most, especially in a period of just three years.
But for Lawrence resident Harry Herington - who is the chief executive officer of a multimillion-dollar company - anything is possible.
"I'm sure it makes my shareholders a little bit nervous," said Herington, who took off in the rain Thursday for his seventh state capital, Little Rock, Ark.
Herington, CEO of Olathe-based NIC Inc., isn't trying to fulfill some crazy dream he's always had. Instead, he's making the trips primarily to raise awareness about the dangers that law enforcement officers face and the families that dozens of fallen officers leave behind every year.
"An officer's biggest concern is what happens to my family if something happens to me," said Herington, a former police officer and detective. "I lived with that and I have a lot of friends still in law enforcement."
The business executive is making his trip to Little Rock with two Lawrence police officers, Tracy Russell and Laurence Corder, who are taking time off work to accompany him. Herington said he's received outpourings of support from officers throughout the country.
"I could live off just that emotion that they give back and the thanks," said Herington. "It makes you want to get on the bike and do all 50 (trips) all at once. But, I have a company to run."
Herington is working to raise more than $150,000 during his three-year journey for Concerns of Police Survivors Inc., a non-profit organization that works to help families of officers slain in the line of duty. His company has agreed to donate $75,000 to the organization, also known as COPS.
Dubbed Ride4Cops, Herington takes his mission quite seriously. His bright blue Harley-Davidson motorcycle represents his ties to Kansas University, where he earned a law degree, but also to law enforcement officers, which he calls his "brothers and sisters in blue."
Flags painted on his hog are shown flying at half-staff, in memory of the country's fallen officers. He also carries with him mementos and replica badges he's received from the families of people who've lost their lives and support his mission.
So far, he's put about 5,000 miles on his bike traveling to the capital cities in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, Illinois and Indiana.
He's already thought through having to ship his bike to Hawaii, to visit Honolulu. And to get to Juneau, Alaska, he'll have to make a lengthy trip through Canada. He’s planning that for next July.
Herington’s progress can be tracked on a Web site developed by his employees, ride4cops.com, where a GPS device tracks his movement on a map.
In 26 of the state capitals, Herington has offices for his business, a government Web site management and eGovernment company that helps government agencies offer different services to taxpayers online. The trips also give him a chance to check in on his 600 employees based in capital cities across the country.