Although Kevin Loyd Stevenson never got to see his dream of becoming a motorcycle mechanic come true, it did.
The 19-year-old Thomson man, son of Tony Stevenson and the late Quinette Stevenson, lost his life on April 19, 2009, after a collision with another vehicle at a busy intersection in Orlando, Fla.
After Kevin's funeral, his father visited the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle dealership, off Frontage Road in Martinez, where he learned that his son actually had been hired.
"His job was there waiting for him," said Mr. Stevenson, who organized the Celebration of Life motorcycle ride to honor his son's memory in Thomson last Saturday. "It really means a lot to me that Kevin accomplished his dream even though he's not around to know it."
About two dozen family members and friends rode their bikes from Thomson into Columbia County where they enjoyed a cookout and picnic at Lake Springs on Strom Thurmond Lake.
Growing up in Thomson, Kevin "was just a normal kid," recalled Mr. Stevenson, an employee of Two-State Construction Co. in Thomson.
When Kevin was 12 or 13, he helped his uncle, Dan Yates, build a chopper bicycle that he rode in the Thomson Christmas Parade, remembered his father.
"He always loved motorcycles from the time he was a little boy," said Mr. Stevenson.
As he got older, school became difficult for him because of his temper, explained Mr. Stevenson.
"Even though he didn't weigh 125 pounds soaking wet, he was the type of person who didn't take anything off anybody," added Mr. Stevenson. "And it didn't matter what size they were."
Kevin ended quit school during his junior year. His older brother, John, convinced Kevin to enroll in a youth military type boot camp at Fort Stewart near Hinesville. Kevin accepted the invitation.
"Kevin went there and excelled," said Mr. Stevenson. "I was very proud of him -- the whole family was."
Kevin earned his GED and at what point thought about joining the Army.
"I talked him out of the Army, because of the wars going on," said Mr. Stevenson. "I didn't want him getting killed."
Kevin later decided that he wanted to become a motorcycle mechanic and enrolled at MMI in Orlando.
While attending school there, he never asked his father for money. "He did what he did on his own," said Mr. Stevenson. "He paid his own way working all kinds of odd jobs. He worked at a drug store warehouse and even set up big tents at Disney World."
Mr. Stevenson said his son enjoyed MMI and wanted to become a Harley-Davidson motorcycle mechanic.
About three months before Kevin was killed, he returned home for a visit to see family and friends. During that time, he also traveled to Martinez where he applied for a mechanic position at the Harley-Davidson dealership.
"He was a natural when it came to mechanical things," said Mr. Stevenson. "He got his inspiration from his Uncle Dan, who can do just about anything mechanical, too."