The severe flooding in Tennessee in 2021 claimed the life of the nearly 2-year-old Kellen Burrow Vaughn.
Kellen’s mom did her best to protect him and her four other children by holding them tightly as she held onto the clothesline outside of their apartment but the waters are stronger than her, it ripped the toddler from her arms.
“Their kids was in their arms one second and pulled away the next. And out of control. Nothing you could have done,” said Kellen’s grandfather, Chris Hixson.
The strong current swept Kellen away. And for several excruciating days, Kellen’s family didn’t know for certain whether he was alive or dead.
“We hoped for the best, but prepared ourselves for the worst,” Chris explained.
Sadly to say, Kellen did not survive. His body was found by the crews and as heartbreaking as it really was, it at least provided the family with some closure.
“We know he’s in heaven now,” Chris said.
The boy’s heartbreaking death circulated quickly.
And when Kellen’s loved ones started using the hashtag #Ride4Kellen, the word also got out about how the little boy loved motorcycles.
“I just seen the little fella’s picture on Facebook and I thought I gotta go show support,” Shawn McAfee, 52, said before joining the precession on his Yamaha cruiser. “He liked to hear the pipes, so we gotta make them rumble.”
In Deputy Mike Webb’s 40 years of working for Humphreys County, he’s never seen a funeral procession of this size, let alone this many motorcycles.
“He’s kind of like me,” explained Allen Burrow, Kellen’s other grandfather. “Just every time you hear a bike, you look around, see who it is, see if you know him. He just loved seeing bikes.”
Allen and the family guessed that maybe around 100 bikers might turn up for Kellen’s funeral procession. But to their surprised, nearly 1,000 bikers came out to honor Kellen of the flooding in Waverly, Tennessee.
Some even came from as far as Kentucky and many riders didn’t know Kellen Burrow Vaughn or his family personally. But still, they wanted to pay their respects.
The size of the procession and the number of motorcycles in it was nothing like the area had ever seen. And the support not only meant a lot to the family but touched the hearts of the community, too.
“It was a national news story that this little boy likes bikes,” said Humphreys County Deputy Mike Webb. “His family wanted a turnout. Well, he got at turnout.”