Duke police team to bike 250 miles in honor of fallen officer

January 08, 2010

By Leanora Minai

Ask Duke police Sgt. Mark Faust why he’s pedaling 250 miles in May, and the answer is simple.

“Callemyn,” he says.

Charles J. Callemyn was killed in a single car accident Feb. 17, 2007, while responding to back-up an officer on a traffic stop. He lost control of his car on Holloway Street and struck the underpass of North Carolina Highway 70.

At the time, Callemyn was a Durham police officer with six previous years of police service at Duke, where his mother works. He was 33, a father of two.

“There’s a lot of people you work with and some become friends,” Faust said. “Charles was more than a co-worker to me.”

In honor of Callemyn and other fallen officers, Faust and Duke sergeants David Johnson and Rekayi Isley formed “Team Duke” and will bike in the Law Enforcement United Memorial Ride from Chesapeake, Va., to Washington, D.C., during National Police Week in May. They will be among more than a thousand riders from across the country who stream into the District of Columbia and gather at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for the annual National Peace Officer Memorial Day services.

Callemyn’s mother, Cathy Carter, will be there May 13 to watch the procession of cyclists and participate in the services. Her son’s name is among the names of more than 18,600 other fallen officers carved in the memorial’s marble walls.

“Charles would be touched to know that the guys are still thinking about him, still remember him and want to do this in his honor,” said Carter, a 30 year Duke employee and assistant director of the Arts and Sciences facilities office. “Our family is excited.”

To ride as a team, Faust and the other Duke riders must raise $4,500. Proceeds will benefit the memorial and other police charities like the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Duke Police will participate in a double-header basketball fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Durham School of the Arts to help raise money for the ride. The Duke University Police Department takes on the city of Durham Police Department, and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and Durham Fire Department also square off. Admission is $5 with a drawing and silent auction of donated products and services like oil changes and tire rotations, a Hilton hotel stay, car washes and athletic gear, including a pair of FootJoy DryJoy golf shoes and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series jacket and more.

For Johnson, the Duke sergeant on Team Duke, the ride will have another special connection to his friend and former colleague: He’ll be on Callemyn’s bike.

“It’s just a matter of being part of a group that cares to do this for fallen family,” Johnson said.

To donate to Team Duke, go to the ride website or call Duke Police Sgt. Mark Faust at (919) 684-4115 for more information.