EUGENE, Ore. — Hundreds of motorcycles took to the streets Sunday morning in honor of fallen Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen.
This was the event’s fourth year. With close to 400 riders this time around, organizers say it has definitely grown since the inaugural ride, but that the meaning behind it all, honoring Chris Kilcullen and supporting the community, holds strong.
Hundreds woke up bright and early to get their coffee fix and good deed in for the day.
Chris’ widow, Kristie Kilcullen, says, “The excitement is overwhelming. We didn’t even open registration until 8 a.m. and we had people here at 6:30 a.m. ready to get moving and talking. So, it’s awesome chaos.”
But as hectic as things can sometimes get, the rush is welcomed by those it helps.
“The best way I have found to heal pain is by helping others. So, for me, this is my therapy and I’m just glad that everyone is allowing me to do it,” says Kristie.
And this year, in his honor, four organizations will benefit directly from his ride: Courageous Kids, Oregon Fallen Badge, the Springfield Education Fund and the Children’s Miracle Network at RiverBend.
Courageous Kids Board Member Jane Riggs says, “It’s just an incredible feeling to know that there’s community support behind us.”
“Chris was a great man and his family is just wonderful and the community is in such support of this effort and to have them reach out and help more, it just makes us feel very honored,” says Ronnel Curry, Springfield Education Fund Executive Director.
By 9 a.m., they were geared up and ready to take to the streets, to remember a man taken too soon and more importantly, help make sure his memory lives on.
“Chris was like a magnet for good people…and it’s enlightening being a part of something this big. It just makes you feel alive,” says Martin Goad, Chris’ childhood friend.
This year to provide a change of scenery, the route was 282 miles, a bit longer than normal. Usually, the ride is about 248 miles, Chris’ badge number.
For more on the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride and the Kilcullen Project, head to their website.