MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Bikers from all over gathered to remember Marine Lance Corporal Frankie Watson on Saturday. He was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan back in 2011. Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant Lowell Russell helped raise Watson, and will always miss him.
"He was such a good, all-American kid. He would do anything for anybody. And he was just one of those great kids that you liked to know and was an honor to have as a friend," said Russell, who helped organize the event.
The ride raises money for the Frankie Watson Scholarship Fund, an award given each year to a graduating Sequoyah High School student in Monroe County.
"That is either going into law enforcement, the military or a sports-related activity. Those were the things that Frankie was involved in,"said Sonya Napier, who helped organize the event.
It also honors all veterans for putting their lives on the line for our freedom.
"I think the soldiers - all they do overseas and suff, the least we can do is try to show as much support as we can here. Even with bringing home wounded soldiers and also doing something like this for the community," said Matt McKinley, who participated in the ride.
Sergeant Russell said the turnout meant a lot to him:
"East Tennessee has always supported the military and of course whenever Frankie had gotten killed, they were there for us and his family. And it's just wonderful to be here in East Tennessee and be an East Tennessee resident," he said.
Watson may be gone, but through the annual bike ride, his memory will live on.
The bikers rode from Alcoa Highway in Knoxville to Madisonville, where a stretch of US 411 was dedicated in Watson's honor.