Patriot Riders and motorcyclists escort veteran’s casket to cemetary
Members of motorcycle clubs, including the Patriot Riders and the Nam Knights, escort the body of retired U.S. Navy Master Chief John K. Lowe Jr., a Vietnam War veteran, from the Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home on Long Sands Road in York, Maine, to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, Maine, on Wednesday.Rich Beauchesneemail@example.com
By Susan Morse
July 04, 2013 2:00 AM
YORK, Maine — More than 50 riders from area veterans groups on Wednesday morning gave a motorcycle escort for the casket of retired U.S. Navy Master Chief John K. Lowe Jr.
Lowe, who served in the Navy for 30 years, including two tours in Vietnam, died at the age of 77 on June 16, Father’s Day, according to his obituary.
Honoring his father’s last request, his son, John “Jack” Lowe of York, used his company’s Jack Towing truck as the hearse to a full military graveside service at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta.
His father wasn’t part of the business, Jack Lowe said, but “we always used to go out together.”
His father, he said, “wanted to go on the ramp truck.”
The motorcyclists — many of them fellow Vietnam War veterans and most wearing black leather vests or jackets and blue jeans — saluted as Lowe and pallbearers loaded the casket from the Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home onto the ramp truck. Jack Lowe had made a wooden box to go over the casket, which was securely tethered to the flat bed for the ride north on Interstate 95.
Pallbearers included Jack Lowe, grandsons John and Jeremy Lowe, Dave Gilchrist, Greenland Fire Chief Ralph Cresta and Newburyport, Mass., Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire.
Jack Lowe is a captain at the York Village Fire Department.
With the motorcycle escort in front of the truck, officer Scott Randall, who rode with the group to Augusta, told those assembled at Lucas & Eaton, “The goal is, once we start, we don’t put our feet down (until we reach the cemetery).”
Randall escorts the Patriot Ride for the Wounded Warrior project each year.
John Lowe was from Albion, his son said, but served for years at the hospital at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. His widow, Dora Lowe, rode in the truck.
“This is unbelievable,” she said to one of the many riders who came up to shake her hand. “It’s so wonderful to see this, how many people care about the military and country.”
Veterans who volunteered for Wednesday’s escort included those from the Maine Chapter of the Patriot Riders; the Massachusetts Chapter of the Patriot Riders; the Nam Knights of America, as represented by the White Mountain Chapter, Seacoast “Live Free or Die” Chapter and the Granite State Chapter; and the year-old American Legion Riders of Post 79 in Berwick.
“We’re all brothers in arms,” said Dennis Ouellette, of the Berwick chapter.