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Motorcyclists reach Midwest


Monday, September 11, 2000

By Mark Melady
Telegram & Gazette Staff


One of the city firefighters motorcycling to Colorado for a national memorial to fallen firefighters suffered minor injuries yesterday when his motorcycle crashed in heavy rain in Indiana.
         Lt. John H. Rogers was scraped and bruised in the accident, according to Capt. James J. Nishan, one of two Worcester police officers taking part in the journey. Lt. Rogers was taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays.
         A separate accident in the same area -- a section of Interstate 70 under construction on the outskirts of Indianapolis -- left an Indianapolis fire battalion chief and another rider with minor injuries.
         The two men had joined the nine-man Worcester group, as firefighters, police and bikers have been doing periodically for segments since the trek began Friday morning.
         “It was a torrential rain,” Capt. Nishan said. “Combined with the rough surface made for tough going.”
         Lt. Rogers was taken to an Indianapolis hospital for X-rays of his foot and leg, Capt. Nishan said. Worcester paramedic Edward Ramstrom treated Lt. Rogers at the site of the accident, about 15 miles outside of Indianapolis.
         “He was up and walking but a little sore,” Capt. Nishan said. “The X-rays are just to make sure. John wants everyone to know he's on a quest to honor our six firefighters and nothing's going to stop him.”
         Even if Lt. Rogers' motorcycle cannot be repaired in time, the group is carrying a spare motorcycle in the support truck that is following.
         The group left the Worcester Fire Department's Grove Street headquarters Friday morning, riding in the memory of Firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson, Jeremiah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk, and Lts. James F. Lyons and Thomas E. Spencer.
         The group stopped Friday at noon in New York City in the Bronx for lunch at a firehouse, and moved on to Philadelphia, where the men had a lasagna dinner at the Chinatown fire station.
         On Saturday, they were treated to a pork barbecue lunch in Harrisburg, Pa., by Local 128 of the International Association of Firefighters before moving on to Wheeling, W.Va.
         That night the bride at a wedding reception across from the fire station where the group was staying invited the men to the reception. Several did, said Capt. Nishan, and were believed to have danced.
         “I couldn't wait to get to bed and my inhaler,” said Capt. Nishan, who suffered the first asthma attack of his life a few weeks ago, a condition that has been made worse by allergies.
         Yesterday morning the group traveled from Columbus, Ohio, to Springfield, Ohio, on a secondary road to allow small fire departments along the way to salute the riders as they passed.
         “They raised their ladders and the men stood outside the station saluting,” Capt. Nishan said.
         As many as 200 bikers have accompanied the group for legs of the trip for a hundred miles or more. Two New York City firefighters and a Philadelphia firefighter have joined the group and will continue on to Colorado Springs for Saturday's memorial in honor of firefighters who have died.
         The Worcester group also includes Police Officer Thomas E. Bishop, Fire Lt. Peter J. Lemieux, and Firefighters Michael P. McKeown, Paul D. Cicero, Paul E. Brosnihan Jr and Timothy P. Foley.


2000 Worcester Telegram & Gazette


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