KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Wheelin 4 Warriors and local Jeepers held a memorial ride Sunday to honor the service and sacrifice of Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, the local service member who was killed during the attack at the Kabul airport in late August.
The somber event was attended by Jeep organizations, motorcycle groups, service members and local community members. Some members of Knauss’ family were also present to say thank you.
The convoy of Jeeps and motorcycles to honor Sgt. Knauss’ life started on Emory Road and ended at Gibbs High School where he graduated from. While many of the group members didn’t know Sgt. Knauss personally, they said it is always hard losing one of their own.
Though many didn’t know him until now, the Knoxville community is rallying behind his family and showing them that they’re not alone.
“We may not know everybody here but when somebody’s down no matter what it is, this family is going to come together and show the support that we can for our community and for our soldiers,” said Sergeant Keith Kregeo with Veterans Honor Guard.
For another fellow service member, Kenny Barnes, it’s the support from others that keeps him going.
“To me as a service member, it’s more than anything than I expected,” he said looking out at the crowd. “I’m just glad everyone’s out here showing support for Ryan and his family.”
Hundreds of people honored the life of a man they will never know but whose memory will be cherished.
Barnes said that the life of a service member isn’t easy, but it’s days like this one that remind them why they serve,
“A lot of days you don’t… you wonder why you do the job you do and then you see this and it’s like man I enjoy my job.”