Troop Support organizations in Chicago mourned last week for an icon in their community.

Jon-Dreymann-WWR

Jonathon Dreymann  1962-2009

Jon (JonD) was the Central Region Coordinator and a Founding Member of the Warriors Watch Riders.

He was killed in a single vehicle motorcycle crash in Indianapolis, Indiana, as he was beginning a ten day vacation.

Jon, who was originally from New York, was an Army veteran (1980-1984).  His son, Joshua, is serving in the U.S. Air Force.

A short video “Light ’em Up!” shows the beginning of Jon’s final escort mission the only one he didn’t ride on a bike.

Chambeaux1 just released this outstanding memorial video (8/21/09)

At the first Illinois WWR mission JonD told the assembled riders that anyone who wanted to Ride Captain a WWR mission could do so.  In his memory every single member of the WWR was appointed a Ride Captain of this mission.

Joe Cantafio, the Chicago musician, wrote a memorial here.  Two short excerpts are below:

I had the honor of working with Jon D this past year on three occasions. When a group of protesters began using my late-cousin’s, Ryan J. Cantafio, USMC, name along with other Fallen Hero names of friends of mine, I went to a demonstration with Jon D, Joe Alger and other Warrior Watch Riders, and DEMANDED they take Ryan and my friends son’s names down from their displays. The names and the entire display was removed the next morning, weeks before it was supposed to be taken down.

I am still in shock, looking at photos of him and us together this past year. I think of all the Troops he escorted to and from their homes and all the Troops he honor on their final day before they were laid to rest; and again I’m smiling; knowing that Jon Dreymann has been embraced by all those who have paid the ultimate price whose funeral he guarded and protected; they met him at the Gates of Heaven, and escorted HIM into Paradise.

Wayne Lutz, the founder of Warrior Watch Riders, said this about Jon’s involvement:

Jon was very important to the WWR, and on a more personal level, to me, in the building of the new and untested troop support group Warriors’ Watch. Jon leapt in with enthusiasm and drive, and was instrumental in shaping this new effort. The structure and success of the WWR is in large part due to his early influence, and for that the entire WWR organization is forever in his debt.

It is my personal prayer that, if he could have known that it was his time to go, he would be pleased knowing that he departed this life RIDING. Jon truly did ride out of our lives and into the next in the seat of his motorcycle.

DustOff Doc had this to say about the Welcome Home Mission the afternoon after Jon’s memorial:

I dont want to talk about the service, it was very hard, I havent lost a member of my unit since the army.

I want to talk about the welcome home [mission] that afternoon. When I got home, I was wiped out and really wanted to goto sleep, I came here and read a bit on the board, and then decided I had to go. I know what Jon said and although I didnt know if it would go well, I figured he knew best.

When I got to the school for staging, there was FD there and a group of brothers and sisters quietly talking, very somber.

Then something began to happen…. we just kind of got it together, slowly, but it happened. By the time Matter removed his raingear………. we were ready. We had a moment of silence durring the brief and we went, Fire trucks Screaming, Pipes roaring, to the church where they were having a party for our Soldier.

When we pulled in something magical happened. The ground shook, the people (there were lots of people) stood and cheered, and our soldier was in shock. It was the loudest, grandest enterance ever! Then we got ahold of our Soldier. No handshakes today, no sir. It was all hugs, and not the little pat on the shoulder hug, the “I havent seen you in forever, I really missed you” hug. By the end of the line, our soldier was very nearly moved to tears by the love and appreciation we showed him, and many in the crowd were moved to tears. The FD stood in amazement, Then it was applause for them! Although the Soldier probably felt like we were the most intense people on the planet, he definitely felt welcomed, and then it was picture time. Pictures with the kids, pictures with Duke, pictures with the bikes, pictures with the banner. The soldier said that several of his troops were returning home soon, and we assured him that we had their back.

As I was leaving I thought “That was JonDs honor mission”, exactly the way he would have wanted it.

The WWR forum has posted JonD’s memorial thread on its Virtual Warriors’ Walk.

Our hearts go out to his family, Yvette, Jessica, Joshua and all of the Warrior Watch Riders.

Some photos of the final mission are here.

His obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times is here.

His Legacy Guestbook page is here.

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