Motorcade arrives in Tucson to honor Sgt. Major Martin Barreras
Tribute to Fallen Soilders comes to Tucson for first time to honor Sgt. Major Martin Barreras and help grieving families across Arizona.
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A tribute to the fallen. Many of the veteran motorcade group participants plan to do that in their first stop in Tucson on a three-week-long tour. While here, they plan to honor one of the city’s most storied veterans.
“It’s just our way of saying that we have not forgotten your fallen service member,” Executive Director of the Tribute to Fallen Soldiers motorcade Warren Williamson said.
The tribute to fallen soldiers memorial torch motorcycle ride has been going on for 14 years with origins in Eugene, Oregon.
But this is the first time they have made a stop in Tucson.
The group, comprised of many veterans, travels through six states over three weeks, honoring 48 fallen soldiers, including seven from Arizona.
“We’ve been wanting to come here for many, many years and just the course of our ride has not provided us that schedule. So we, as I said, we’re taking every advantage of it,” Williamson said.
But there is a bigger reason they came to Tucson this year.
“When we put this route together, we specifically wanted to honor him.”
The “him” Williamson is referring to is honor Sgt. Major Martin Barreras who was killed nearly a decade ago after injuries suffered in Afghanistan.
He is also credited with saving prisoner at war Jessica Lynch in 2003, a story which made national headlines.
The group carries around a flame lit by some of the gold star families in Euguene (Families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty). It represents their lives and honors them.
It doesn’t go out for one second over the three weeks this tour goes on.
While much of the focus on is on the fallen, many of the people a part of this motorcade say it’s the people who are still with us, who they are looking to impact the most.
“What a positive impact it is, and how they really take the time to honor Alex and make us feel special,” Gold Star father Roy Conrad said.
The motorcycle ride was stopped by Chandler native Conrad, whose son Alex was killed in the line of duty in Somalia.
He says the tour has a huge impact for those still grieving.
“The first couple of families that I met last year, just the ceremony was really, really powerful for me,” Conrad said.
It’s why he joined the tour this year. To honor Barreras and many others and support those who need it.
“It gave me a direction and [an avenue] to share his memory and build on his legacy,” Conrad said.
The motorcade will visit the Barreras family tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. The ride ends on Saturday, September 30th, in Eugene, Oregon, where a memorial bell will ring 48 times – each time naming one of the fallen soldiers and bringing the ride to a close.
For more information, you can visit the group’s website at https://tributetofallensoldiers.com/index.html.
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