Photos: Motorcyclists pay their respects to Fort Wayne man

Motorcyclists wait for the funeral procession to begin for Heath Ault. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Motorcycles are lined up in preparation for the funeral procession of Heath Ault from the Lake Avenue funeral home. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
A common make of the motorcyclists' bikes was Harley-Davidson. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
This participant wore a Freedom Rider jacket. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
(Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
This motorcycle has a collection of wristbands for various causes. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Motorcyclists make their rides comfortable. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
More than two dozen motorcyclists accompanied the funeral procession of a man they didn't know. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
More than two dozen motorcyclists gathered for the funeral procession of Heath Ault, not because they knew him, but because they wanted to show respect for a fellow motorcycle enthusiast. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Many motorcyclists customize their rides. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Motorcycles of all types were used by motorcyclists in Heath Ault's funeral procession. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)

More than two dozen motorcyclists Friday morning waited beside D.O. McComb & Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Ave., to pay their respects to a man most of them didn’t know.

Jimmy Letner of Fort Wayne put out the call on Facebook when he learned Heath Ault, 41, a fellow motorcycle rider, had died. Motorcyclists from various communities gathered in the overflow parking lot to wait to accompany the funeral procession to Prairie Grove Cemetery. Letner estimated that 98 percent of the riders didn’t even know Ault. Ault’s wife, Annette, came out and was surprised by the outpouring, Letner said. “She didn’t know we’d be here,” Letner said.

And that’s how it happens. The message goes out, and the riders respond.

“We’re here to show we don’t even need to know a person” to pay our respects, said Raford Johnson of Fort Wayne.

Letner passed along a message from Annette Ault later on his Facebook page that said in part, “I know he was right there with you guys just … grinning big as big can be.”

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