HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Busloads of airmen from the 104th Fighter Wing, as well as motorcyclists, family members, and friends gathered at the War Memorial in Holyoke to pay tribute to TSgt Patrick Rud.
Rud died last Friday night, when his motorcycle and an SUV collided on Route 5 in Holyoke.
Crowds of people, including more than 100 riders from the Widows Sons waited on the sidewalk to show their respect at his wake Thursday morning. James Beauregard, the president of the motorcycle club’s Massachusetts chapter, told 22News that Rud was very important to them.
“Pat was part of our motorcycle club, and the Widows Sons of Massachusetts numbers in over 200, and Pat was very close to all of them,” Beauregard said.
Members of another motorcycle group, the Patriot Guard Riders, held flags in Rud’s honor, and firefighters hung a giant American flag outside the War Memorial before mourners departed for Rud’s funeral in Agawam.
Rud’s death marks the second major loss for the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base in the past few months. Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot died in late August when his F-15C fighter jet went down over rural Virginia. He was laid to rest last week at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.