Alsip police officer Jonathan Kane (right) is greeted by people at Bailey's Bar & Grill in Tinley Park during a send-off Tuesday, April 10, 2012. Kane is deploying back to the Middle East with the U.S. Army. |
American flags lined Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park Tuesday evening, as family, friends and supporters surprised Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Jonathan Kane and his ever-present dog, Hondo, at Bailey’s Bar and Grill.
“Welcome home!” someone erroneously yelled — but Kane isn’t returning, he’s leaving for Afghanistan this week on his second tour of overseas duty. The first, in Iraq, ended three years ago.
“The news is out there saying we’re all coming back, we’re all coming back,” said Kane, 35, of Alsip, who works in Army intelligence and is an Alsip police officer. “Yes and no. There are certain people going (to Afghanistan) who do specific jobs.”
Tony Marmo, co-founder of the motorcycle group Soldiers Guardian Angels, first suggested the surprise send-off to Kane’s mother, Kerry, who’s been riding most of her life.
“If you start riding a bike, the world gets smaller,” Kerry of the close-knit community.
Warriors Watch Riders and other motorcycle groups joined the effort, and even though she knew her son would hate her for it, Kerry agreed to the surprise.
“He’s got a year to get over it,” she laughed.
Kane was surprised by the send-off and appreciated the show of support.
“I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do,” Kane said of the motorcycle groups that are dedicated to supporting the military. “It’s really special.”
Inspired by the many relatives who’ve served in the military, Kane joined the Army Reserve and was deployed in Iraq.
“I’ve always liked to serve,” he said. “Serving my country, it just felt natural to serve my community, also. ... I’ve actually had several opportunities to take part in bringing soldiers back, as a police officer. To see the support from the other side of the street was incredible.”
Kane hopes to see public support grow for military personnel. Marmo said the Soldier Guardian Angels are dedicated to making that happen.
“This is what we do,” Marmo said. “We try to make sure that every soldier knows that they’re appreciated and that we have their backs.”