Veteran bikers stop at Chicago lemonade stand to honor fallen Marine

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CHICAGO  Three area motorcycle clubs rallied the troops on Sunday for a fallen marine from Chicago.

Spearheaded by the Marine Veterans Motorcycle Club, bikers drove to 99th and Washtenaw for the Gold Start Kids lemonade stand in honor of Marine Corporal Connor Lowry, who died in Afghanistan in March 2012. At 6-feet-4-inches tall, Marine Cpl. Conner Lowry was an imposing figure with an even greater sense of humor.

“Just a great, great Marine who loved his country so much,” said Modie Lavin, Connor’s mother. “Part of his characteristics was keeping his platoon laughing during really tough times over in Afghanistan. That was kind of a morale booster.”

Marine Corporal Connor Lowry

Born and raised in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, Connor attended St. John Fisher Grammar School and then all-boys Catholic high school Brother Rice before enlisting in the USMC.

In the wake of his death, his family formed the Connor T. Lowry Memorial Fund, “Live Life Large,” an organization that raises money for educational scholarships. On Sunday, the Marine Vets Motorcycle Club, Justified Motorcycle Club and the Canaryville Veterans Riders Association got in on some red, white and blue American-aid squeezed with lemons. Each club donated $500 and $10 for a cup of lemonade.

Tommy Rogers and Tommy Russell were part of the honor procession that escorted Connor’s body home when it landed back in Chicago. Both were ecstatic about Sunday’s turnout.

Connor’s cousins, 7-year-old Modie and 5-year-old Mitch were also on hand, learning along with other neighborhood kids, a lesson on life, death and remembrance.

“Connor’s sacrifice is a teachable moment for all our kids,” Lavin said.

Click here to learn more information about Illinois-based coalition Prevent 22.

Click here to learn more about Darkhouse Lodge, a peaceful retreat for combat veterans.


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