AURORA, Neb. — People waited for nearly an hour Wednesday, occasionally looking up U.S. Highway 34 to the east and listening for the rumble of motorcycle engines.
They squinted in the sun and shaded their eyes as they scanned the horizon for the procession that would bring Aurora Police Chief Godfrey Brokenrope’s remains through town.
Brokenrope, 50, died Saturday night from injuries he suffered in a motorcycle crash Thursday on Interstate 80 near Seward. He was off duty at the time.
The Aurora Police Department and multiple motorcycle groups escorted the late chief’s ashes from Lincoln to Grand Island on Highway 34. Along the way, people paid tribute.
The procession brought traffic to a halt at the busy intersection of Highway 34 and the U.S. Highway 81 bypass at York.
About 2:40 p.m., a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy pulled his patrol car over near the Aurora city pool. Leaving the overhead lights flashing, he got out and stood along the highway as nearly 100 motorcycles, several patrol cars and a handful of civilian vehicles passed through town. A small plane also flew low overhead.
Each side of the highway was lined with people. Some held small American flags. Others stood with their hands clasped together. Boy Scouts from Troop 28 and Cub Scouts from Pack 131 of Hamilton County, Troop 119 of Grand Island and Troop 102 of Central City saluted.
Brokenrope was also widely known as a volunteer baseball and football coach in Aurora and for teaching DARE in the schools. He also enjoyed talking about his Native American heritage.
World-Herald News Service writer Melanie Wilkinson contributed to this report.