It was three years ago on this very day that we buried Adam Conboy, United States Marine Corps.


The flag draped casket containing young Adam’s body was taken from the old stone church on the Schuylkill River in the Roxboro section of Philadelphia by an honor guard of impossibly sharp and polished Marines stepping in unison to a cadence only they could hear. The hard young men placed that casket on the back of the caisson with all the gentle care of a mother putting her newborn to rest in a crib. Mary, Adam’s mother, walked unsteadily behind.  She clung for support to the arm of a medal-bedecked Marine colonel. The black horses tethered to the caisson snorted and shook their long black manes, reigned in by two men in black top hats and long-tailed coats.

The streets in this part of the old city were still cobble stoned, but, as the long, very long, funeral procession set out from the church, the clattering of the horse’s hooves and wagon wheels were no match for the deep roar of the one hundred and twenty motorcycles that followed behind.

We had come to show our deep respect for a fallen American warrior, cut down too young for all of our sakes, for freedom’s sake. We had never met Adam Conboy (our loss), but we were about to begin an association with his mother Mary and her husband Gary Warner that time would show to be as enduring as it was enjoyable and dutiful. Today I count Mary Conboy among my dearest friends, and I say that with humility and with full awareness of the honor of it.  Mary Conboy is one of the world’s “good ones.”

Mary Conboy/Wayne Lutz

Mary Conboy/Wayne Lutz

I have seen this before; women of great strength and moral courage who,  at the loss of son or daughter or husband, turn their grief into something constructive and good, who take up a banner and resolve to make the world somehow a better place in the name of the one they’ve lost. Five days before Adam’s death, he had asked Mary in a phone conversation to send some basic creature comforts for himself and his comrades in the form of simple bedding. He said to her, “Time to get Operation Bedding” underway, mom.” And that was exactly what Mary Conboy has done.

Now in its third year, The Adam Conboy Memorial Fund’s “Operation Bedding” has provided basic creature comforts to American Warriors away from home and in Harm’s Way. To date they have shipped nearly 1o thousand “Operation Bedding” care packages, all through the tireless efforts of Mary and her volunteers. It was in support of the Adam Conboy Memorial fund that the Warriors’ Watch Riders attended, by Mary’s invitation, the FIRST annual Plymouth-Whitemarsh (PA) Memorial Day fundraising event.

I emphasize the “first” because of how smoothly this even came off. It was, as they say, like clockwork.  I write this after-action report in the stead of Kel, whose mission this was to have been, and who had the unfortunate need to withdraw at the last moment due to a home emergency (sounds fishy to me. Don’t let Kel tell you any fish stories.)

Kel’s advanced planning made it a cakewalk, to use another cliche, and the day was grand. The event was to begin at a church in Whitemarsh, where a 30 minutet ceremony would be held in honor of the fallen, and then a procession would head to the Plymouth-Whitemarsh HS where more ceremonies would take place, and where then booths would be set up for the various troop-support agencies to display their wares.  Warriors’ Watch formed a dignified flag line inside the church down either side of the center isle (don’t worry – I was wearing my biker vest with the patch that says “These ARE my church clothes!”), through which passed the color guard and the vets to be honored. We then receded to the rear of the church, and at the end of the serivce went out ahead of all and formed yet another flag line for the honored to pass through.

We mounted up then and had us a for-real parade from church to school, about a mile away. The parade was led off by motorcycle police, followed by dignitaries (Lt. Sharon Keyser among them!), about 30 WWR motorcycles, fire engines, military trucks, all sorts of good parade-type stuff! Again, I have to stress how well this all came off, given that no real plan was in place ahead of time.

At the school more ceremony was held, and our WWR booth was bedecked with banners, chamo netting, and flanked by two flagged motorcycles, all together making an eye-catching display that drew a LOT of interest from the attendees, including Military Brass and local Politicos. We shared our booth with our sister group, A Hero’s Welcome. ( I consider AHW and WWR to be bookends, we are that close.)

The weather was near perfect – sunny and warm, pleasing to be out in (in which to be out, to put a preposition in its place.) Mary, so good to be with you again and I am pleased for you that it went so well. We were honored and humbled by your invitation and for the small part we were allowed to play. Kel, thank you for your advanced planning, and T, thank you for stepping up with me to take over for that fishy deal. Maria of A Hero’s Welcome, and Lt. Sharon, founder of Same, as always I love working with you.

Good day, good people, good cause, good warm-fuzzies. I’d lable that “misison accomplished.”