Chris’ Celebration of Life
The day of the memorial, dozens of bikers pulled into Louie’s Chinese restaurant. We were briefed, grabbed our flags and headed to line up. We were the last group the procession would see before ending at the Arena. Chris’ friends showed up to stand with us, as well as, a friend of mine from work whose daughter is an officer with a small Oregon agency. Chris had taught one of her academy classes. As the procession reached us, we stood in honor of a man who had touched many. The more I learned about him from his friends and colleagues, the loss felt more palpable. He was described as one of the best of the good guys and it seems he was. The procession passed and I made eye contact with each vehicle that passed. 454 vehicles in all, including over 100 motorcycle cops, representing 12 states and Canada passed. The faces of the officers were stoic even as tears flowed freely down many cheeks. The loss reached me deeper as I watched my son’s baseball coach pass-by driven in by a Cottage Grove officer. She lived there with her Springfield LEO. In another Eugene PD vehicle, the father of one of the boys on my older son’s hockey team passed. When the last vehicle went by, I lowered my flag and realized the rain had stopped. About the time the procession reached us the clouds had parted and the sun shone through revealing blue sky. A sign that Chris is patrolling for a higher authority now?
Yesterday, I rode to the spot Chris gave his life. I kneeled by the signs, flags, flowers and pictures. I said a prayer for the family, his immediate family and his police family. The sun shone down on me as I mourned for the loss of John Christopher Kilcullen--the husband, father, brother, son, philanthropist, motorcyclist, officer, instructor and hero.
Michelle Perin worked as a police telecommunications operator with the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department for eight years. She has an M.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University and writes full-time from Eugene, Oregon. For more information, visit www.thewritinghand.net