HELENA – The 10th annual Memorial Torch Motorcycle Ride is honoring a Montana native and fallen soldier as it travels thousands of miles across the country.
A crowd gathered at Helena’s Memorial Park Tuesday evening as the annual ride arrived from Eugene, Oregon.
The torch was held in honor of Army Captain Michael MacKinnon, who was killed in action during the Iraq War in October 2005. Captain MacKinnon was a Montana native, and the tribute to him and his family is part of a 22-day, 4,000-mile, cross-country ride.
“Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Northwest” is a non-profit organization based out of Eugene. Their journey has taken them across the states, honoring dozens of service members.
Executive Director Warren Williamson told MTN News about the importance of the Memorial Torch Motorcycle Ride.
“You know, every day to us is special when we get a chance to honor our fallen heroes, every day. From the moment we leave Eugene, Oregon to the moment we get through National Cemetery and that’s what this is all about,” said Williamson.
He added they make the cross-country journey so no one forgets fallen heroes like Captain MacKinnon.
“In this tiny, little, community, of Helena, Montana, you can see the outpouring love and support for Michael. And that’s what we are all about, to make sure these folks know and the family remember and know Michael is not forgotten even though he was killed in action in 2005, so that’s what we do.”
Since its inception, Tribute to the Fallen Soldiers Northwest has recognized over 800 fallen service members of all branches.
Story by Christine Sullivan, MTN News