Ron Oswald was not a veteran. But, he spent a lot of his time honoring those who served by riding his motorcycle in Warriors Watch rides.
"He had done one on Friday [for] the boy from Moline who was killed. He did the whole escort from O’Hare to Moline to bring home a fallen hero."
Warriors Watch Riders welcome home, send off and escort military personel with motorcycle cavalcades. Will County ABATE, which stands for A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, organizes to push for legislation regarding motorcycle riders and educates the community.
Brian Wendholt, Will County ABATE co-legislative coordinator, knew Oswald well. Oswald was very active in the legislative group and was the ride captain in years past, he said.
"He was extremely conscientious in setting up the rides," Wendholt said. "He would ride them himself first and then ride them the day before to make sure they were safe.
"He never left anything to chance."
Fitzpatrick agreed, saying Oswald was the one who made sure the Warriors Watch rides and riders were careful.
"He was the one who always made sure we rode safe," she said.
On Saturday, when Fitzpatrick did not see Oswald at the send off for the military member, she tried to call him.
"When he didn’t show up, I couldn’t get a hold of him," she said. "I saw the Plainfield Patch [story] and so I started calling the hospitals and that’s when I talked to his daughter."
A Dangerous Road
Wendholt said the intersection where Oswald was hit is a dangerous one.
"You get people from County Line Road who try to take any gap in the traffic on (Route) 126 that you see, then you get left turners on 126 who do the same thing," he said. "I generally try to avoid that intersection as much as possible and also the one at Plainfield-Oswego Road when I am on my bike, because I have just seen too many bad things nearly happen there."
Although Saturday's crash was not a case of a car not seeing a motorcycle, but rather a chain-reaction accident, Wendholt and Fitzpatrick both agree that too often drivers simply do not see motorcycles.
"People see what they’ve been conditioned to see and there are obviously a lot fewer motorcycles on the road than other vehicles," Wendholt said. "They can see a motorcycle and it doesn’t register in their brain that have seen a vehicle."
To try to change that, ABATE goes out to area high school drivers education classes and teaches the new drivers about motorcycles. They hope in doing so they will raise awareness and perhaps prevent more accidents. They are active at Minooka High School, as well as Plainfield high schools.
"That’s one of our purposes for existence," Wendholt said.
Attempts to reach Oswald's family were unsuccesful.