Motorcycle memorial run rides for fallen veteran

Sgt. John C. Barcellano loved riding, his mother Lisa Weidmann says. Valley News/Courtesy photo

For former Menifee resident Lisa Weidmann, holding an annual motorcycle run has been one way of honoring her son, Sgt. John C. Barcellano after he died in a motorcycle accident in 2017.

Barcellano was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, during the time.

“We had the first run last year in El Paso, Texas,” Weidmann said. “It was difficult because I was traveling from California and the motorcycle community there wasn’t as organized as it is out here.”

Sgt. John C. Barcellano was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, at the time of his fatal motorcycle accident. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Despite difficulties, they raised $1,000 for one of Barcellano’s favorite charities, the Child Crisis Center.

This year, Weidmann brought the run back home to Menifee where Barcellano grew up.

The second annual Sgt. John C. Barcellano Memorial Motorcycle Run will take place Saturday, Aug. 29, starting and ending at the Temecula Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4089. They’re also partnering with Combat Vets Motorcycle Association 33-3.

“The route is going to head up the 15 freeway. It’ll lead from the VFW Post on Diaz Road, and it’s going to make a loop and come back, stop at the South County Vets Office where they’re going to be meeting and offering up a prayer for John and bring awareness to veteran suicide,” Weidmann said. “Then they’ll return to the VFW Post, and we’ll have opening ceremonies and kick things off.”

Thomas Steward, secretary and public affairs officer for Combat Vets Motorcycle Association 33-3, helped plan the route, which will welcome around 100 riders to the event.

“Normally when you do a memorial ride you get everybody together and you go out, you ride a certain area where you think this individual might have ridden, or a group of people would ride through,” Steward said. “That’s the way we do it.”

They have what’s called a lead rider and tailgunner.

“What they normally do is they keep everybody in a tight group so that everybody will be together when they’re riding,” Steward said. “Normally we have escorts, either the police or the VFW riders or some members blocking traffic for us so we can get out and stay together as one long group.”

Weidmann will serve as the tailgunner vehicle.

“She wants to see everybody in front of her,” Steward said. “It gives her great pride knowing that her son’s not forgotten, and that there’s other veterans out there willing to put their time aside to go out and remember him.”

Barcellano joined the military in 2013 and served on active duty for four and a half years.

“He developed tremendous leadership qualities,” Weidmann said. “He was an armored tank crewman, and shortly before his passing, he was selected by the battalion commander to be part of his personal staff, so John was a driver for the battalion commander.”

Barcellano was 26 years old when he died.

“One of the most healing things for me is talking about John and keeping his memory alive,” Weidmann said. “Even if it’s difficult to talk about I would rather talk about him then not talk about him.”

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at