WAKEFIELD — Nearly 13 years after the tragic death of Swampscott’s USMC Captain Jennifer J. Harris, local motorcyclists are still riding in her memory.
The 12th Annual USMC Capt. Jennifer J. Harris Memorial Motorcycle Run will be in Wakefield on Aug. 10. Her father, Raymond Harris, said, while it’s emotionally hard for him to appear every year and remember that his daughter is gone, he is grateful to the memorial event’s organizers and the thousands of riders who sign up to ride in her honor every year.
“It hurts me very much to go, but I know I have to,” he said. “I hope they get a full crew again this year. I try to hold myself together every year but I can’t help but get very emotional.”
Jennifer Harris was one of seven people who died on Feb. 7, 2007, after the CH-46 Sea Knight Helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq. The Swampscott native, who was on her third tour, was 28 years old.
Aside from the annual memorial ride, Harris said his Swampscott neighbors and many members of the North Shore community have gone above and beyond for him over the years, especially since his wife died of an illness three years ago. They drive him to the grocery store, they come over and landscape his yard, and they host events or raise flags in Jennifer’s honor on every memorial or veterans holiday, he said.
“All these people keep doing things for me and I don’t know how to thank them,” said Harris. “I wish I could pay these people back.”
Registration for the memorial ride will be from 9 to 11 a.m. on Aug. 10 at the Wakefield Elks Lodge. The ride begins at 11:30 a.m. at $25 a rider and $15 a passenger. A BBQ lunch, DJ and raffles will also be provided.
It’s hosted by The Honorable Few Marine Corps League Detachment #1302.