Cruisin the Coast has lost one of its biggest supporters. Longtime volunteer Brad Maxwell's valiant fight to beat cancer finally ended this week. On Thursday, Cruisin organizers came up with a touching way to bid farewell to a man who gave everything he had to the classic car showcase.
The scene on Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs is what Maxwell lived for. He loved watching south Mississippi sparkle off the mint condition frames of classic cars. Rusty David worked with Maxwell at Bancorp South.
"It was his one week of the year that he just came out of his shell and just really enjoyed people," thought David.
On the eve of Cruisin the Coast's 11th block party, Mr. Maxwell passed away. To pay tribute to his dedication to this event, Ocean Springs volunteers brought his funeral procession past the cruisers lined up on Government Street. David was in the procession.
"It was absolutely phenomenal," he said.
Police sirens echoed off downtown Ocean Springs buildings as two motorcycle officers escorted Maxwell's hearse past classic car owners. Many turned on their headlights as show of respect for a man who asked for little fanfare.
Frank Leach is site manager for the Cruisin the Coast stop in Ocean Springs. He said he got permission to take Maxwell's coffin past the vintage cars because it was the right thing to do.
"This is just a small token of what we could do to say thank you for what you have been as far as Cruisin the Coast," he said.
None of the people who watched the hearse roll by knew Brad Maxwell. So they weren't aware of his connection to Cruisin the Coast. They didn't know about his job at Bancorp South. And they had no idea how hard he fought to make it through one more block party before cancer took him away.
After the procession reached Highway 90, one car owner said, "I told my husband, I said if you're a car buff, that would really be an honor to be escorted down through here."
Another woman sat across the street and thought, "What a way to go out, bring him right through the cruise."
Mr. Maxwell wasn't just a Cruisin the Coast volunteer. Each spring, he was an active participant out on the water at Smokin the Sound. Brad Maxwell was 48-years-old.