Highway 411 in Madisonville dedicated in memory of LCpl Watson

Highway 411 in Madisonville dedicated in memory of LCpl Frankie Watson

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Lance Corporal Frankie Watson Lance Corporal Frankie Watson
Saturday, the community lined Highway 411 to show their appreciation for all veterans, and riders from all over East Tennessee drove to Madisonville to pay their respects. Saturday, the community lined Highway 411 to show their appreciation for all veterans, and riders from all over East Tennessee drove to Madisonville to pay their respects.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

MADISONVILLE (WATE) - Hundreds of motorcycle riders drove from Alcoa to Madisonville to show support for a fallen marine on his birthday.

LCpl Frankie Watson was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

Saturday, the community lined Highway 411 to show their appreciation for all veterans, and riders from all over East Tennessee drove to Madisonville to pay their respects.

"I'm a former soldier myself. I'm here to support him, his family, everyone else and the honor of protecting our country the way we did, the way he has, the way he did," said Patriot Guard Rider Jim Strickland.

Friends, family and people who didn't even know the Marine turned out for the memorial ride.

"Frankie was a good friend of mine, you know and he gave a lot for us and we couldn't ask for anything better. He was a great guy, I mean everybody loved him. Everybody who didn't know him, they were left out, because he was a great guy," said friend Brent Foister.

Watson's mentor, Sgt. Lowell Russell served as the master of ceremonies.

Trooper Russell was severely injured last year when a semi smashed into his cruiser.

He was in another car accident Friday night.

He was treated and released from the hospital.

"I don't think anything can stop me. In fact, one of my friends texted me, made sure I was alright to be here, and I said, 'well if I was in the hospital, I was going to have to get the ambulance to bring me, because I wasn't going to miss it for nothing,'" Russell explained.

In addition to the memorial ride and the special ceremony, the section of 411 that runs through Madisonville has been dedicated in LCpl Watson's honor.

"I had helped raised Frankie. Friends with the family and stuff, and I spent a lot of time with Frankie throughout the years, and just had the pleasure of getting to be part of his life, and I tell you what, he made me proud everyday," Sgt. Russell added.

The ride benefits the scholarship fund set up in Watson's memory.

Next year's memorial ride has already been planned.

It's set to take place April 5, 2014.

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