There's a really good chance that you or someone you know has served in our nation's military. Each generation has its wars, and while many of our countrymen (and women) serve in them, they don't always come home. Such was the case with Joey Tremblay, who lost his life while serving with the United States Marines in Iraq.
He enjoyed a very close relationship with his father, Larry, and the two of them loved custom bikes and watching builders create rolling artwork on television. The time they spent together was the inspiration for Larry's memorial to Joey and the other Marines who've died in military service-the custom bike you see pictured here. Larry met Rich Mauro of RPM Customs in Newburgh, New York, and the two of them put a lot of work into making this bike come together. Larry was so satisfied with RPM that he bought into the business.
But rather than focusing on the bike, we'd like to tell you about the man who inspired it. Joey was a typical kid; he picked up some things quickly, while others took more time, but he always worked on his obstacles until he overcame them. All three of Larry's children were very different, and Joey was the funny one with the different sense of humor. Larry's first memory of his son making him laugh came about when Joey was a toddler, and Cadbury made a commercial about an Easter bunny that sounded like a chicken. After that, all Easter bunnies clucked like a chicken, according to Joey.
A few years later, Joey took to playing team sports, like many children his age. Mostly he played baseball and football; some of the coaches were Marines from the base in nearby Stewart. Larry coached as well and was extremely proud of the fact that his son was such a team player. He wasn't as interested in the awards and trophies as he was in helping the team play as best it could. It was a trait that would stay with him throughout his life.
High school was harder for Joey. The school was located in a large city with too many kids, but it was also where he met his fiance Jen. Both of them were on the crew team, where he rowed in the four- and eight-man boats and excelled at the sport.
But all through his life, Joey enjoyed a close relationship with his family. "As father and son, we had our difficult moments, but Joey always knew that when the chips were down and he needed me, I would always be there for him. Looking back on Joey's life, honor, respect and dignity were some of the words you could use to describe my son," Larry told us. When the two of them weren't watching the History Channel or the Discovery Channel, they spent time discussing the news or politics; Joey had an affinity for debate but kept an open mind during their talks.
All of these traits served Larry's son well when he became a Marine. In 1999 Joey started a four-year tour on active duty, after which he stayed on as a Marine Reservist. He returned to active duty when the call went out for volunteers. Joey was assigned to the Marine Force Reserve's 3rd Battalion, 25th 4th Marine Division, out of Moundsville, West Virginia. As part of Operation: Iraqi Freedom, his unit was assigned to 2nd Marine Expeditionary Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). He died on April 27, 2005, from injuries received from a mine explosion while conducting combat operations in Iraq. He was 23 years old and left a void in all the lives he touched during his short time here on Earth.