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Northwest Press


June 29, 2011

Green Twp. hosting free concert, fireworks

La Salle grad leading cycling team across country By Kurt Backscheider

Drew Mathews had no idea how much the crosscountry bicycle ride he completed five years ago would impact his life. Six months after the Monfort Heights native arrived in Washington, D.C., to finish the 2006 Journey of Hope cycling trip in which he helped raise money and awareness for people with disabilities, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Mathews fought the cancer courageously, and in the process he had to have both of his hips replaced. “Little did I or anyone else realize just how big of an impact the Journey of Hope would have on me,” he said. “It’s because of the amazing people I met then, who were living their lives every day without allowing

By Kurt Backscheider

“Little did I or anyone else realize just how big of an impact the Journey of Hope would have on me.”

Drew Mathews

their disabilities to stop them, which taught me how to face the challenges I had to endure.” Now cancer free and a senior at the University of Toledo, Mathews is once again making the 4,000mile trip across the country during this year’s Journey of Hope sponsored by Push America, an organization serving the needs of people with disabilities. The La Salle High School graduate is a crew chief this time around, leading a team of cyclists from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. His trip began Saturday, June 11, and ends in the nation’s capital Saturday, Aug. 13.





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Monfort Heights native Drew Mathews is leading a cycling team across the country to raise money and awareness for Push America, an organization serving people with disabilities. This is the second time Mathews, who is a cancer survivor, is taking part in the Journey of Hope. Mathews and his team began in San Francisco and will end in Washington, D.C. Mathews said the 63day journey, which covers an average of 80 miles a day, is all about spreading a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities. The trip includes stops in towns throughout the country where team members meet people with disabilities and make new friends during friendship visits. “Your worst day on the bike may not come close to the challenges a person with a disability faces every day,” he said. The people he met in 2006 were the key to his success in fighting leukemia. He said they gave him the inspiration to never give up. “I learned to never take for granted each day I wake up, and I hope by returning I will be able to inspire others as they had inspired me.” One person he has

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already inspired is his mother, Molly McHugh. “I am very proud of him,” she said. “Drew has been through a lot since his last ride. I’m proud that he’s giving back and raising awareness for people with disabilities. “I’m blessed he is here,” she said. Drew said the word “journey” has truly described his life during the last few years. He said he sees this leg of the journey as nearly completing his triumph over cancer. “I have to wait to complete my full victory because my last four classes of my degree are only offered in the spring,” he said. “So until then I hope to help others as I have been helped.” For more about your community, visit greentownship.

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Green Township residents are invited to celebrate Independence Day with a concert and fireworks at Kuliga Park. The free concert and fireworks display is the only event scheduled as part of the 2011 Concert Series. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 3, at the park, 6717 Bridgetown Road. Randy Ludwig, public services foreman for the township, said the summer concert series typically featured three or four concerts at the park, but the economy forced sponsors to reduce contributions this year and the township had to cut back. “We decided if we’re only going to have one concert, we’re going to have this one,” he said. “This has always been our biggest night.” The patriotic event features three music acts this year, Ludwig said. Jason Kirby will perform from 5:30-6 p.m.; the Pete Wagner Band will take the stage from 6-8 p.m.; and Ooh La La and the Greasers will play from 8:30-10 p.m. Ludwig said Queen City Pyro Production will put on a fireworks display around 10 p.m. Ooh La La and the Greasers will then return to the stage and play a few more songs after the fireworks are finished. “We always try to have a good fireworks display,”

Ludwig said. Green Township Trustee Tracy Winkler said the Fourth of July concert and fireworks is one of her favorite township events. She’ll be on hand this year serving as master of ceremonies. “We felt this was the most important event to maintain,” she said. “Everyone always seems to really enjoy it.” Winkler said the celebration is very family-friendly, and it’s a great way to show our patriotism. “It’s just an important time for people to gather as a community and pay tribute to our country,” she said. Ludwig said community organizations and civic groups will set up booths at the park to sell food and drinks. Some of the food choices include hot dogs, burgers, funnel cakes, ice cream and other desserts. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase. No alcohol may be brought into the park. Bus service begins at 5:30 p.m. Shuttles will run from J.F. Dulles Elementary School, Oak Hills High School and Our Lady of Visitation. Parking will also be available at Faith Fellowship Church, across from Kuliga Park. Parking at Kuliga is reserved for handicap and permit parking only. For more about your community, visit greentownship.

Sprayground “It’s not like a pool where you lose the whole day,” he said. Parks and Services Director Kevin Schwartzhoff said it’s nice to see Clippard Park being used and enjoyed by the families who come to the new park. “It took a while to get it open, but I think people appreciate everything the park has to offer,” he said. Bosarge agrees. “You go there on a Saturday, and the

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fields are in use, there are walkers, the skate park has people using it, the kids are enjoying the play ground and the sprayground, there is just a lot going on,” he said. “We have had so many positive comments from people who come and people in the neighborhood. It’s just a nice park.” For more about your community, visit coleraintownship.

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