August 11, 2014
August 05, 2014 9:00 pm • Andrea J. Cook Journal staff
Hands pressed to their hearts, Lori and Tim Lynaugh watched a procession of 50 motorcycles rumble past the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in downtown Rapid City on Tuesday.
The Minnesota couple was there, like many others, to honor lost law enforcement officers — in their case, their son, a police officer who died after doing his duty.
They were part of a contingent of folks with law enforcement backgrounds who saluted the riders participating in the first annual Blue and Chrome Law Enforcement Memorial Celebration.
Organizers hope the fledgling event, which honors fallen law enforcement officers, will grow into a signature event for Rapid City during the first week in August when thousands of motorcyclists are drawn to the Black Hills for the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
The Lynaughs’ youngest son, Josh, a St. Paul police officer, was one of the 105 law enforcement officers whose photos and stories were recorded on placards adorning Memorial Park prior to Tuesday’s motorcycle ride.
Josh Lynaugh, 30, had just completed a foot-pursuit through deep snow to make an arrest when he collapsed next to a squad car. He died eight days later, on Feb. 6, 2013, from complications due to a massive heart attack, said his father, a retired St. Paul police sergeant.
Their son was a “legacy cop,” Tim Lynaugh said. He grew up knowing he would follow his dad into law enforcement. He was a good officer, willing to work the toughest neighborhoods. During his five years with the St. Paul Police Department, Josh Lynaugh earned two Life Saving Awards and 16 letters of commendations.
He loved his job, once telling Lori Lynaugh —”I’d do it for free.”
The Lynaughs learned about the Blue and Chrome event just two weeks ago. Their son loved Rapid City and the Black Hills, they said.
Coming to Rapid City this week was a tough choice. A good friend, 22-year veteran Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, was shot and killed last week. His funeral is today.
“It’s important to keep our son’s memory alive,” Tim Lynaugh said. “We just hope and pray this will lead to something that gets bigger and bigger.”
The inaugural event tapped retired South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper and Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Famer Ron McKinley to be grand marshal.
Also joining the ride was Wisconsin custom bike builder Cabana Dan Rognsvoog, who was inducted into the Hamsters Motorcycle Club on Monday.
Riding for Blue and Chrome was a must for Texas state Sen. Kirk Watson.
“When I found out they were having the inaugural Blue and Chrome ride … I’m very close to law enforcement in my hometown in the state of Texas,” the former Austin mayor said.
“We had 13 officers that fell in the past year, so one of the things I wanted to do was take the opportunity to honor them,” Watson said. Peace officers provide a very “high public service,” he explained.
“Those that are lost give us everything they’ve got, literally,” Watson said. “The idea that I get, just by being here, being a small part of this, I wouldn’t have missed it.”
Watson promised to spread the word about the event among riders back in Texas so more Texans ride next year.