Triathlon training tragedy sets stage for giving

August 11th, 2006    Author: Rodney Beckwith    Filed Under: News

Friends of a local man injured while training for a triathlon in June are hoping to see large crowds at a benefit community party for the man.

Matt Frye, the father of two, is continuing to recover after being struck by a van while bicycling in mid June.

“Matt trains for triathlons and rides a competition bike,” said Jamey Ponte, founder and president of Child Wellness Community Fund. “He was riding his bike on state Route 125 and came face to face with a van. He was in the hospital, his face was cut up, he broke his collar bone and a few other bones and is currently wearing a neck brace. He’s expected to have a fairly full recovery, but he lost his job in construction. His family has a very limited income.”

Ponte’s organization is managing the community party, which will feature a cookout, games, silent auction, music and other activities to benefit the Frye family, which has suffered financially since Matt was struck by the van. While Matt is expected to make a nearly full recovery, the former construction worker did lose his job and is expected to be unable to return to construction work even after he recovers.

“He should be able to go back to do some sort of work, but it won’t be construction,” said Ponte.

Ponte said that he learned of the family’s plight from the day care his organization partners with, which is where Matt’s wife works. The idea to hold a fund-raiser, however, came from an old family friend who himself benefitted from Matt’s kindness in the past.

“Brian Anderson, a friend of Matt’s, has been his friend a long time,” said Ponte. “He called and said he wanted to help out. Matt’s wife said that Brian, when they were teenagers, had a pretty serious accident and lost his arm and leg. Matt and his friends did a little fund-raiser to try and help, so it came full circle. Brian decided it was his time to step up and help.”

The Child Wellness Community Fund, a non-profit, will help organize the event to ensure that funds get where they are supposed to and the activities themselves go off without a hitch. The organization itself is designed to help children in need. While Frye is no longer a child, his two sons, age 10 and 8, could certainly benefit from their father’s recovery.

“We are the Child Wellness Community Fund,” said Ponte. “We do large events, like our signature event at Coney Island, the Child Wellness Fair. We also do smaller camps for autistic kids. Matt’s wife is the assistant director for the day care we partner with, which is the largest in Ohio.”

The five-year-old organization recently moved to Clermont County from Warren County after local officials learned of the organization and talked them into relocating.

According to Ponte, the move has been a good one for the organization. To learn more, go online at www.childwellnessfair.com or call (513) 943-1900. Donations can be made in advance or at the time of the community party, which will be held on Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. at 3099 South Bantam Road in Bethel.

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