STALLINGS – Stallings police officers Paul Lemmonds and Mike Lovingood were riding their motorcycles on June 28 when the unthinkable happened.
“I was getting a flat, so I pulled over and told Paul I was going home,” Lovingood said. “He offered to help me fix my tire; he just needed to go grab a tool.”
The two split up and agreed to meet back at Lovingood’s house, but Lemmonds never made it. He crashed about a mile from where they parted ways.
“We heard the wreck go out on the radio and someone went on scene and said, ‘This is Paul.’” Lovingood said. “The thing that gets me is he was so concerned about me getting home safely the whole time, and he gets the fate of what happened to him.”
Lemmonds, a longtime officer, former Marine and the Secretary of the Union County Renegade Pigs Motorcycle Club, suffered a broken leg, broken ribs, broken hip and bleeding in his brain.
Lovingood took the situation hard.
The two have known each other for roughly 20 years and worked together in both Stallings and Marshville police departments. Lovingood described Lemmonds as “the guy that everybody counts on.”
Stallings Sgt. Ben Davis, who also worked with Lemmonds in Marshville, echoed that sentiment.
“In Marshville, he always had my back and we had some pretty rough, pretty dangerous calls. That’s where I learned to trust my life with him,” he said. “Especially there on the edge of the county, when sometimes help was far away. I knew as long as I had Paul with me, we were going to be OK.”
His resilience is also unmatched, according to Davis, who said Lemmonds battled cancer and had recently recovered from a heart attack prior to the crash.
“He’s one of those really good people in life that doesn’t seem to catch a break every once and a while,” Davis said.
That’s why the Stallings Police Department, in conjunction with the Have a Heart Foundation of Union County, has organized a motorcycle ride fundraiser to help with his medical expenses. The 60-mile ride, dubbed “10-13 Ride for Paul,” begins at 11 a.m. Oct. 13 at Harley Davidson in Matthews (9205 E. Independence Blvd.) and ends at Grace Academy (3645 Pleasant Plains Road) at approximately 2 p.m. Tickets cost $25.
The event’s name is not only the date of the ride, but a nod to police code 10-13, which means an officer needs help.
Davis said the bonds within law enforcement and emergency services are just as close as family, and Stallings Police feel raising money for Lemmonds is the least they can do for their brother in blue.
“One of the things Paul said was, ‘Don’t quit riding. Never stop riding. I’m not going to quit, so you don’t quit,’” he said. “We’re doing this to show him that we’re not going to quit riding and we can’t wait for the day that he comes back.”
Want to ride?
Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at www.tinyurl.com/1013ride or on the day of the event. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Oct. 13 at Harley Davidson in Matthews, 9205 E. Independence Blvd. All riders will receive a T-shirt to wear on the ride as part of the donation. Light refreshments and some raffle items will also be offered at the end of the ride at Grace Academy.
Want to donate?
T-shirts and hoodies can be purchased separately at https://www.cus tomink.com/fundraising/1013ride
Donations can also be made on the site.