EASLEY — Hundreds of motorcycles and Jeeps all decked out in their red, white and blue finest turned out for the annual Honoring Their Service parade on Monday to escort visiting Marines as they make their trek up to Keowee Key for a few days of rest and relaxation.
Around 40 Marines from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as well as the Wounded Warrior Regiment gathered at the J.B. “Red” Owens Recreation Complex before setting off on their escorted route from Rock Springs Baptist Church, down the S.C. 123 Bypass and through Liberty, Norris, Central, Clemson and Seneca before ending up at Keowee Key.
Harry DeWick of the Marine Corps League Commandant Detachment 1145 held a salute as the procession passed under the Brushy Creek Bridge.
“Last year it rained, but I’m not sure which is worse — the rain or this year’s heat,” he said.
“Next time, I’m going to wheel out a cooler full of water,” Marcia Kelley said as she waited on the overpass for the parade with her husband, Randall. “This is my first year coming to this, but now that I’m about to retire, I plan on doing more things like this.”
Seven-year-old Micah Warren and his mother, Gina, were among the spectators on Monday.
“We have friends deployed overseas,” said Gina, getting slightly choked up. “He (Micah) wanted to stand here for them.”
Micah waved his flag in the sun in honor of deployed Marine Tommy Dotson, who is serving in Germany.
Several Upstate communities, led by volunteers from Keowee Key, partnered up with the Rodger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital to host the four-day event, beginning with the parade.
“They will be treated to outdoor activities such as fishing, golfing, river tubing, hiking and archery — all created to communicate support and gratitude for the service they give,” said Tom Morse, chairman of Honoring Their Service 2015. “Honoring Their Service provides the entire Upstate community the opportunity to say thank you, face to face, heart to heart.”