|6/28/2011 1:09:00 PM|
Motorcycles roll through Sisters to pay respect
|Riders from all walks of life joined the memorial tribute to Officer Chris Kilcullen. Hundreds gathered in Sisters.photo by Jeff Spry|
By Jeff SpryMotorcycle enthusiasts from the Eugene area made an honorary cruise through Sisters on Saturday to pay respects to fallen Eugene police officer Chris Kilcullen, who was killed in the line of duty in spring of this year.
The memorial ride was organized by officer Brian Antone of the Springfield Police Department and drew over 250 riders from all walks of life: retired recreational cruisers, hardcore Harley lovers, police officers, firefighters and EMT personnel. The ride began at the BMW motorcycle dealership in Eugene, continued to Lebanon and Sweet Home, and ended here in Sisters.
Kilcullen's badge number was 248, coincidentally the exact number of miles of the planned route.
The ride was open to the public and cost $35 to register, with the proceeds going to help the Kilcullen family.
A 12-year veteran of the Eugene Police Department, Kilcullen, 43, died after being shot following a routine traffic stop around 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22. Fifty-six-year-old Cheryl Kidd was arrested shortly afterword in connection with the shooting. Kidd, who has a history of mental illness, ran a red light and failed to stop for Kilcullen, who was working traffic enforcement that afternoon on his police motorcycle. Kilcullen caught up to Kidd in Springfield, where she opened fire, killing the officer.
Earlier this month, Lane County Circuit Judge Mary Ann Bearden deemed Kidd mentally unfit to stand trial and ordered her to be transported to the Salem psychiatric facility for up to three years of treatment.
The shocking tragedy has had a profound affect on the entire Eugene community and Kilcullen's fellow officers. Saturday's rally was created to remember a valued life and help with the healing process amid the backdrop of the Sisters peaks.
Memorial riders enjoyed a no-host lunch in Sisters and displayed polished bikes while sharing thoughts and memories of their friend, gathering for group photos before heading back over the pass on a spectacular summer day. A silent auction table and remembrance banner was set up in the Sisters Elementary School parking lot, where fellow bikers could pay their respects and write personal farewells to Kilcullen.
Springfield officer Antone spearheaded the event to assist members of Kilcullen's family.
"It was truly an honor for me to be able to put this together," said Antone. "Chris' death particularly touched me because like me, Chris was a husband and a father. After attending his memorial service, learning about his wife, Kristie and their two girls, Sydney and Katie, I felt like we needed to do something more than wear a black band over our badges."
The memorial ride raised nearly $7,000 to assist Kilcullen's family.
"Motorcyclists came from all over Oregon. It started out small with only 20 or so riders, then spread to 250. I was amazed, humbled and very proud to be part of a group of people that could come together to support the hero that Chris was and continues to be."
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Article comment by:
Kudos to all those motorcyclists who planned and participated in this event.
It is always gratifying to see the American Motorcycle Community at the forefront of honoring those like Officer Kilcullen by such prominent and dignified events.
Whether rallying behind the family of Madras hero PFC Thomas Tucker ( i.e. the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association) or escorting/attending the almost daily funerals of our Veteran Community ( i.e The Patriot Guard), or remembering our POWs ( i.e. Thunder Run) or coming out in a broad spectrum of independent riders, associations, and clubs ( i.e. Law Enforcement's Blue Knights MC) to support the most worthy of causes - motorcyclists "ride the ride" and remind us all that freedom is not free.
De Oppresso Liber,
Greg Walker (Detective, Retired)
Special Forces Motorcycle Club
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