- Grove City, Pennsylvania

July 19, 2013

Golf outing to honor Justin

By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
Allied News

PINE — A Pine Township chiropractor's office will raise scholarship money in honor of Justin Griffin - the Grove City boy who died last year from a bike accident.

The "Fourth Annual Advanced Chiropractic Golf Outing in Memory of Justin Griffin" will be held at Pine Grove Golf Course from Diamond Road in Pine, at 8 a.m. Aug. 10.

"All the proceeds will go toward scholarship to award to Justin's 2016 class," said office manager Jennifer Ryder.

The outing will be close to the anniversary of the boy's death on Aug. 17. Justin, 15, was struck by a vehicle when he rode his bike into traffic at the intersection of North Broad at Chestnut streets.

"We have several patients who are family and friends of his; a lot of kids who went to school with him ... and they knew we looked for something to contribute to," Ryder said.

"Literally a week (after the accident) we were asked if the outing could be done for him. It was fresh in people's minds."

Justin's mother, Susan Griffin-Ray, has since been an advocate of bicycle helmet safety for children.

Last September, JD Motorsports honored her son by putting a 7-by-13 inch decal on champion driver Mike Wallace's race car for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Chicagoland Speedway, which aired on ESPN 2.

The decal had a graphic of a bicycle and the words "In Memory of Justin Griffin: Obey Your Local Bicycle Laws."

Ray has been speaking more to children and adults about bicycle and helmet safety.

This past spring, Advanced Chiropractic donated $200 worth of bicycle helmets to Ray for opening day of Grove City Little League, where she held a drawing to give out the helmets. 

Justin excelled at sports and "was a big ball player," Ryder said.

The office has worked with his mother on the current golf fundraiser, she noted. "Originally we were going to contribute money into (the family) scholarship fund, but she said just to do our own thing," Ryder said.

Dr. Steve Peterson, owner of Advanced Chiropractic, will be able to distribute the scholarship funds in whatever increments he wishes.

He'd like to give $1,000 scholarships to graduates who want to go into health care, Ryder noted. Her boss will pick the top essays written by students applying for the college money; the identities of the essay writers will be given to him anonymously.

Once all the funds come in from the golf outing, "We will take the money to the school and it will sit in a fund until 2016," Ryder noted. "Anyone can do a scholarship, but this will be a one-time thing with Advanced Chiropractic in Justin's name."

The outing has raised $12,000 in the last three years, with the highest amounts coming in for people, Ryder said.

Peterson started the outing in 2010 to raise money for the family of Teresa Breese, a notary public in Grove City who died of cancer. It garnered $5,000.

"He's close to the family and he felt someone needed to do something," Ryder said. "They suffered a big loss."

In the second year, $2,000 raised from the outing went to Grove City Community Library for its Bookworm Reading Club.

"His son was going to the library," Ryder added.

Last year, $5,000 was raised for the Kyle McFeely Scholarship Fund at Slippery Rock University, which began years ago in the name of the local college student who died in a car accident.

The McFeelys are also friends with Peterson.

"They had $20,000 in the scholarship and if they could get $25,000, they could give two, $1,000 scholarships each year," Ryder said. The money accumulates its own interest, she noted.

McFeely's "scholarship was for someone who wouldn't normally get a scholarship; a fun, quirky kid who's a good person, but didn't stand out in academics or sports," Ryder said.

The golf outing can be played by individuals or teams at the 18-hole golf course.

There will be a light lunch half way through the event, as well as a sit-down dinner at its conclusion. The outing will include $1,000 in prize money for the top three teams and lots of door prizes and raffles, Ryder added.

Advanced Chiropractic has already received 34 "hole sponsors;" businesses that donate $100 in exchange for their name being promoted at the outing. That money will go entirely to scholarships, Ryder said.

Raffle money raised will be also be given toward scholarships, and the $70/person charge to play will go toward expenses for the outing, she noted.

"It's a blast. It's a good time. A lot of people come out for it every year," Ryder said. "We want to get as many people as possible to come."

Published July 10, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.