Steven was riding his Harley, dressed as Santa, on his way to be Biker Santa at the Christmas Party for the Special Education students at Volunteer High School in Church Hill, Tennessee on December 16, 1999 when he was tragically run over and killed by an inattentive motorist. My Brother Steven was BIKER SANTA - Steven was known and loved as Biker Santa to the Tri Cities Region in Tennessee. He was Santa on a Harley for many years, to many Charities, it was his passion.
The Motorcycle clubs in East Tennessee now ride an annual memorial ride "The Steve Harrell Toy Ride", continuing the work Steve loved. A few years ago I took my Mom to run errands, a very typical and routine trip to the Wal-Mart during the Holiday Season. We walked across the threshold of the entrance, I retrieved a shopping cart from the corral and as I turned, there he was.
A huge bear of a man, he stands about 6'9" tall , Blue Jean Overalls, a worn Black leather jacket, a mountain man beard and carrying an impossibly large bag of toys. A man who always seems uncomfortable around lots of people. My eyes were drawn to his worn leather jacket where there shining like a beacon was a black and white patch in a row of about 6 patches above a larger patch. The larger patch at the bottom read "NEVER FORGOTTEN", the smaller patch, one of the 6, that seemed to grow before my eyes read "BIG STEVE". It is a memorial patch and this man was my brother's friend, his comrade.
I quickly looked to my Mom, and automatically reached for her to offer what support there was in my trembling hand, her eyes were glued on this big gruff looking biker, with a heart of gold, she looked at him with tears brimming, about to spill down her cheeks. He nodded at her and she at him .... and then he was gone with his large bag of toys. Destined to be given out to boys and girls soon by Biker Santa.
My hero is my brother, Steven Carroll Harrell ( 1954 - 1999)..
a Marine (Vietnam Era Veteran),
a Son - First Born son of our Mom and Dad,
a Husband - Married to his wife in 1975 and still happily married (24+ years) at the time of his death,
a Father - to his only child, a son who celebrated his 21st birthday 4 days before his Dad's death,
a Brother - oldest brother of 5 siblings,
an Uncle - to 4 Nephews and 3 neices at the time of his death, with the addition of 1 Great Nephew born in 2004 named Steven, and a new Great Niece born yesterday.
a successful professional who retired early from the corporate world to follow his heart and give back to his community as
a Police Officer (Mt. Carmel, TN) and a photographer.
Many lives were changed in an instant on that cold December day.
My parents lost their beloved son.
My sister-in-law lost her loving husband and best friend.
My nephew, who was just becoming a man, lost his father and mentor.
I lost my best friend, my older brother, my hero.
My younger sisters and brother lost their older brother.
My sons lost their loving uncle and father figure, as I am a single Mom.
My nieces and nephews lost their uncle.
The town of Mt. Carmel, TN lost a loyal civil servant in blue.
The children of the region lost their beloved 'Biker Santa'.
The Motorcyclist lost their friend and comrade 'Big Steve'.
The Marine Corps lost one of their finest one of ' The Few - The Proud'.
The world lost a great humanitarian, generous philanthropist and a wonderful person.
Semper Fi Steve ~ I love you and miss you every day I breathe.
Always your loving sister, Kimberley