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John "JonJon" Bylund - April 11, 2024 (OR)

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Tow Trucking community honors one of their own


VENETA, Ore. -- After his unexpected death, many people showed up at a celebration of life for John "Jon-Jon" Bylund on April 27.


John Bylund, known as Jon-Jon to those who were close to him, died of a heart attack on April 11. Fellow operators, like Matthew Lostrom and Yoshi Patrick, said the support means a lot to the people that cared about Jon-Jon. 


"He wanted to take care of anybody he could and look after anybody," Lostrom said.


"Jon-Jon was a man with a beautiful smile, that no matter what kind of mood you were in or what was going on in your day, he was there to help you," Patrick said.


Lostrom and Patrick helped organize the memorial and celebration of life. 


"I've been in the towing industry for about 7 years, and I've done several of them," said Lostrum. "He was out here towing just like we were -- to bring it together and to show the respect and the brotherhood of our community."


The early morning procession of tow trucks made their way to Highway 99, giving Bylund one last ride. The procession ended in Veneta at the Rogers Towing Office along Territorial Highway. 


At the memorial, people visited and took photos of his truck, which had a plaque and a wreath of flowers dedicated to him. Food was another important aspect of Bylund's life, represented by a barbeque at his memorial. The turnout was high.


"It means a lot. For a lot of people, they think we're just tow truck operators. They don't think about our family and friends. It means a lot to see how many people he touched in his life being so young, and seeing the turnout really makes me happy," Lostrum said.


According to operators, the bonds between tow truck operators is forged because of the precariousness of their job. They often put their own lives at risk when they go out to a job. 


"This is what we do as operators. We're there to help people, and this is what we do for fellow tow truck operators. We support each other like a family, like a team," Patrick said.


While they honor the memory of one of their own, tow truck operators know their work always comes calling.


"When this is all done, a lot of us have to get back to the road," Patrick said. "There's people on the side of the road that need our help, so that's what we do."





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