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Brotherhood Rides for Driver Engineer David Hackett

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Since 2007, the annual Brotherhood Ride has sent a dedicated group of firefighters traveling by bikes across the nation to honor some of their own. They honor those who passed heroically in the line of duty. This year, the Brotherhood Riders passed through Brooksville to recognize a Hernando County firefighter beloved by many.

Driver Engineer David Hackett died in the line of duty on Sept. 25, 2021, passing from complications due to Covid. On Monday, he stood among those honored by this year’s Brotherhood Ride–a ride originally scheduled last October, which, due to Hurricane Ian, was postponed until January 21- 28, 2023.

The Brotherhood dedicates this ride to 85 Florida First Responders who died in the line of duty in 2021 while protecting their communities. Brotherhood Riders are honoring them by cycling through Florida for eight days, a journey that encompasses more than 600 miles from Fort Myers to Jacksonville and averages 70-90 miles per day.

The Brotherhood Riders cycled into Brooksville Monday afternoon, arriving at Fire Station 14, located at 3001 Broad Street, Brooksville, to honor DE Hackett. “It was humbling to see this dedication in David’s memory,” said Nick Brandt, Community Risk Reduction Manager, Public Information Officer, and UAS Coordinator for Hernando County Fire Rescue. “It was very gracious to have this ride in his honor.”

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This ceremony proved deeply personal, as a retired Brooksville firefighter ranked among the riders who met with Hackett’s family and co-workers.
“Retired Captain Jason Brazinski was participating in the event. This was a big commitment for him, to make such a long, taxing ride,” said Brandt. “David Hackett’s wife, Julie Hackett, was on hand to receive a commemorative plaque signed by all of the riding participants in David’s honor.”

The Riders were scheduled to stay overnight at Chinsegut Hill after Monday’s ceremony. Brandt describes Hackett as a dedicated firefighter and loyal family man. “He was a military veteran and very dedicated,” said Brandt. “He was tough and great to be around and was the devoted father of two sons.” The Riders stopped to speak to Hackett’s co-workers and with Hackett’s family, who expressed appreciation for their efforts.
“Julie was very tearful and moved when she received the plaque,” Brandt said. “Very grateful.”

Brandt and the firefighters at Fire Station 14 also showed their gratitude for the Brotherhood Riders. “In this way,” he said. “David will never be forgotten.” Please visit http://www.brotherhoodride.com/ for more information about the Brotherhood Ride.

David Hackett’s wife Julie Hackett received a commemorative plaque signed by all of the riding participants in David’s honor. Photo courtesy of HCFR.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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