CHESAPEAKE -- 80 of First Lieutenant Michael Johnson's closest friends and family members gathered around a brand new 42-foot, four seater race boat Sunday in Chesapeake to honor him.
'It was a real celebration of Mike Johnson, of the person that he was, 'said Lorraine Ortega, Hickory High School crew parent.
The Chesapeake Yacht Basin in Great Bridge is where the Hickory High School Crew team practices. Michael Johnson was a member of that team and was recognized as a real team leader.
'You found him motivating everybody at 5:00 in the morning when not everybody wanted to be there to work out. And just a really outgoing guy and fun to be around,' said good friend Brian Viau.
These are the people that were devastated when they got the news in 2009 that the 25-year old Marine was killed supporting combat operations in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar Province.
'It creates a sense of awareness about fragility, sacrifice,' said Danny Plante, Michael Johnson's former coach at Hickory High School.
They all felt good about honoring the fallen Michael Johnson in this way, and by the end of their day they all got the news about Osama Bin Laden.
'The first time I heard of Osama bin Laden I just automatically thought of Mike. Just thought of him being over there was really a part of Osama coming to an end,' added Amy Parker, Hickory High School Crew Alum.
It gave a sense of closure and a sense of purpose for their fallen friend.
'[It] made me proud to be a part of coaching a young man like that,' said Plante.
'The icing on the cake. It was the icing on the cake. It just made the day the best day possible,' concluded Ortega.