Nearly 25 years ago, two Costa Mesa police officers died in a tragic helicopter crash, but on Thursday it was their heroism that Bob Votruba remembered as he biked around the Newport-Mesa in honor of the fallen heroes.
Wearing a white shirt and adorning his bicycle with signs, the Cleveland native visits towns across the country as part of his One Million Acts of Kindness campaign, which promotes thoughtful behavior.
He also remembers heroes by visiting police, fire and veterans centers across the country aboard his light-blue bus. He is usually joined by his dog, Bogart.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version misspelled Bob Votruba's last name.
For 155 days, he plans to ride his bike 26.2 miles each day in memory of those who have died in the line of duty.
On Thursday, Votruba visited the Costa Mesa Police and Fire departments, Newport Beach's American Legion post and fire station, and traveled around both cities in remembrance of Costa Mesa officers James David Ketchum and John William Libolt. The two died after a Costa Mesa police helicopter collided with a Newport helicopter while pursuing a suspected car thief in 1987.
Thousands attended the memorials of Ketchum, Libolt and Henry at the time of their deaths. Votruba, by carrying a sign throughout each city, has made it his goal that the memory of such officers isn't forgotten.
Votruba also remembered the three Newport policemen who have died in the line of duty: Officers Bob Henry and John C. Marshall, and Sgt. Steven Van Horn.
Henry was 30-year-old father of three when he was shot by a 24-year-old man in a murder-suicide in 1995. He later died at Hoag Hospital after being in a coma for about a month.
Marshall died in 1962 after a drunk driver hit his motorcycle. Van Horn died of cancer in 1997, about 10 years after a toxic chemical fire.
Votruba plans on next heading to Santa Monica, and plans to be Las Vegas by the end of the month.