Hundreds of people gathered early this morning at the Lorain County Regional Airport to be a part of the motorcade escorting the body of Captain Michael J. Medders. Members of Law Enforcement from many local agencies as well as Deputies from the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and Troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol were on hand to pay their respects to not only Captain Medders but also to his father, Elyria Police Chief Michael Medders.
Others on hand were local Dignitaries, Firefighters, Paramedics, Metro Parks Rangers and members of the Patriot Guard Riders.
Around 11:40am a jet began to circle the airport – the crowd of over 100 fell silent. At that moment it began to truly sink in what everyone was there for. Five minutes later the jet landed and taxied to the receiving area. As the jet pulled up the voice of Elyria Police Sergeant Matt=2 0Eichenlaub rang out – “Detail Attention – Present Arms.” At that point the nearly one hundred in the detail raised their right hands sharply and saluted.
All eyes were on the aircraft that delivered Captain Medders back home as a side cargo door opened. As the casket was brought to the front of the plane family members began holding tight to each other crying.
After the Army Pall Bearers transferred Captain Medders from the aircraft to the hearse the procession to the funeral home began. The 20-mile route took the motorcade through 7 townships and cities with intersections being blocked by local Police, Fire and EMS vehicles.
One of the more moving moments occurred when the motorcade rounded Lake Ave onto West Ave approaching the Police Department. The motorcade was met with a large flag hanging over the road attached to aerial trucks from the Elyria and Sheffield Village Fire Departments. Standing at attention in front of the Elyria Police Station were Police Officers, Corrections Officers and other Staff from the station. On the other side of the street were Elyria Municipal Court employees and others showing their support to the family and to saying thank you to Captain Medders.
After a brief pause in front of the Elyria Police Department the motorcade drove past City Hall and the Justice Center where hundreds of people had assembled.
Further along the route school children and their teachers stood with flags at the corner of Broad & Cedar to watch the motorcade pass by. School children from Ely also stood along Gulf Road to pay their respects.
Avon Firefighters also had a large American Flag hanging from their aerial truck as the motorcade passed through Avon into Avon Lake on Route 83.
Teachers and staff from Avon Lake High School stood along the road as their former student passed by them – tears filling their eyes. Avon Lake Schools Superintendent Robert Scott said that many of the teachers had Medders as a Student and this tragedy has hit them very hard. “It’s devastating and this is the time for the community to pull together. Our staff has been helping each other deal with this – he was just such a good kid and he touched so many people in his life.”
The procession ended next door to the high school at the Busch Family Funeral Home. The Army Pall Bearers moved Captain Medders into the funeral home from the hearse.
Visitation for Captain Medders will be held inside Avon Lake High School, 175 Avon-Belden Road, from 5-8pm Wednesday, October 1, 2008 and 3-5pm & 6-9pm Thursday, October 2, 2008.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Joseph Church, Avon Lake on Friday, October 3 at 10:00.
Burial to follow with full military honors St. Joseph Cemetery in Avon.
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