A cross-country motorcycle ride to honor fallen soldiers stopped Tuesday, July 30, in Parkwood to celebrate the life of Devin Kuhn, a 24-year-old U.S. Army Ranger who died last year in a training accident.
Riders who departed from Oregon on July 14 and finished their ride Sunday at Arlington National Cemetery presented Kuhn’s parents, Jim and Lynn, with a portrait of their son and a memorial plaque.
After arriving, the group of motorcyclists played Amazing Grace, and Warren Williamson, executive director of Tribute to Fallen Heroes Northwest, read a brief biography of Kuhn’s life.
“I’m deeply touched by all of this,” Lynn Kuhn told the riders.
Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department also attended and a fire engine was set up outside the Kuhn’s house on Chilton Road. Jim Kuhn is a firefighter who works out of the station at Frankford and Linden avenues.
Kuhn, a 2013 graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School, was killed Jan. 31, 2018, in an accidental shooting at Camp Rilea in Oregon. He died three days after his 24th birthday and 32 days after getting married, Jim Kuhn said.
Kuhn enlisted in the Army in 2015 and was deployed to Afghanistan, where he earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his part in special operations raids against terrorist networks.
“Devin was fun, fun to be around,” Jim Kuhn said. “Once he got to know you, he always had a smile on his face.”
Kuhn’s parents thanked Charlie Strange, who also attended the ceremony, for his help and support since their son died. Strange’s son Michael, a U.S. Navy SEAL who grew up in Wissinoming, was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.
The motorcyclists spent about an hour in Parkwood. It was one of 65 stops they planned to make at the homes of people whose family members died serving in the military during their 22-day, 4,000-plus mile Memorial Torch Motorcycle Ride.
Williamson said this is the organization’s 10th year doing the cross-country trip. In total, participants have honored more than 860 Gold Star families over the years.
A core group of about a dozen motorcyclists completed the entire trip, while others joined in for portions along the way, Williamson said.
“I know, by the time you’re done, there’s going to be 65 families that are going to really feel appreciated that you made the sacrifice for us,” Jim Kuhn said. ••
Jack Tomczuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.