CHAMPION - For the past 10 years, the family of Garrett Wonders honored his memory Oct. 20 with an annual birthday bike ride each October through Trumbull County.
His family organized the ride through Champion, Bazetta, Bristol, Greene and other townships with riders starting and stopping at the Trumbull Career and Technical Center.
Jay Wonders said his son was an avid bicyclist, and the ride is held around his birthday. Participants could choose a 10 kilometer or a 50 kilometer ride along the Trumbull County Greenway Bike path and adjoining roads.
This year, there were 95 riders helping to raise money for scholarships.
Wonders had been selected as a military representative to the 2004 Olympics Trials in cycling and was on a training ride in South Carolina when he was struck and killed by a careless driver in 2004. He was 25 and left behind his wife, Terri Wonders-Abney.
Since his death, his family and friends have campaigned to keep the roads safer for cyclists and encouraged drivers to share the roads with riders.
Jay Wonders said each year money raised from the ride is given as two scholarships of $1,000 each to students attending Ohio State University and a $2,000 scholarship to a Warren G. Harding High School band student. Wonders was both in the band and graduated from Ohio State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in engineering and physics in 2000 and a master's degree in nuclear engineering in 2001.
To help raise funds, there was a raffle of a picture and bike donated by Thumm's in Warren.
Other events being planned for 2014 are a Walk and Roll Earth Day bike ride on April 26 on the Western Reserve Greenway, a Warren Area Ride of Silence on May 21 and the 11th annual Garrett Wonders Birthday bike ride on Oct. 19.
Wonders was a 1997 graduate of Warren G. Harding High School. He studied at the Argonne National Laboratory and the German National Laboratory.
In 1999, he accepted a commission with the United States Navy and upon completion of his master's degree he was part of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina, as an instructor in the physics division.
Wonders competed at the collegiate Cycling Nationals in 2001 and became part of the Military Elite Cycling Team in 2003 and represented the United States in races around the country and in Europe.
In May 2006, a newly constructed bridge in Charleston, S.C., was named in Wonders' memory. Cooper River Bridge was built with a bike lane that was dedicated as "Wonders Way."
Wonders' name has been used as part of a movement to protect cyclists across the country.
The family said everyone involved in the program is simply trying to inform drivers of riders' rights to share the roads with cars and remind them of how many cyclists lose their lives to those who aren't aware of the laws.