Randolph biker memorial

Flags line Route 2 in Randolph at the site where seven motorcyclists were killed and three were injured on Friday evening.

At the Legion post, ‘We kept waiting’ — and then the bad news came

{child_byline}By John Koziol

Union Leader Correspondent

{/child_byline}

GORHAM — The event hall at the American Legion Dupont-Holmes Post 82 was to have been filled last Saturday with the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, gathering for its annual meeting.

Instead, around 7 p.m. Friday, bar manager Michael Demers got a call that seven of the group and its supporters had perished in a horrific crash on Route 2 in nearby Randolph.

Demers said a number of Jarheads had made plans to come to Post 82 around 7 p.m. Friday to play in the post’s weekly Queen of Hearts raffle, after which the Jarheads were going to begin setting up for the annual meeting.

“We kept waiting and waiting and waiting, but nobody showed up,” said Demers, who is a member of the post.

It was then that the call came from Ivan Downs, a fellow Post 82 member and former Marine who is a foreman with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

“They’re not coming, they’re not coming,” Downs told Demers, relaying that seven members of the club and supporters were killed and three injured when a pickup truck crossed into their lane.

On Monday, Post 82 Commander Mike Murphy said he spoke with the new president of the Jarheads on Sunday and was informed that the riding group, made up of retired and active-duty U.S. Marines, had already booked a campground in Randolph for 2020.

Downs said Monday he knew several of the Jarheads from their membership in other motorcycle clubs and visited with them last Thursday at the Mount Jefferson View Motel. He said the Jarheads were coming to the post Friday to support their fellow veterans by patronizing the raffle.

Demers said between 80 and 100 Jarheads and their family members and friends were expected to attend the annual meeting.

On Saturday and Sunday, Post 82 members took coffee and doughnuts to Jarheads at their campground, said Murphy, and also offered to help them move equipment. He said Post 82 will refund the Jarheads the $150 the club paid to rent the hall, and that the space is open to the Jarheads at no cost anytime they want it next year.

Demers and Murphy also said Post 82 plans to hold fundraisers for the group.