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Riding for Eric: Benefit planned for soldier’s children

“A Ride for Eric” is being planned to benefit the two children of 23 year-old Sgt. Eric Hull, who was killed when Iraqi militants detonated an improvised explosive device near his 2 1/2-ton truck in Baghdad last month. He was serving as an Army Reserve cook for the 307th Military Police, New Kensington.

Matt Triffanoff and Troy Golden knew Hull from being in the food business for Nutrition Inc. out of West Newton and, while at Hull’s funeral at the end of August, decided to have a benefit for his children because Hull would have done the same for them.

“He would have helped out as much as he could,” says Golden.

“He was a great guy,” says Triffanoff, who adds that their idea grew in such a short time.

The benefit will be a run/walk/bike ride at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, on the Connellsville Yough River Trail.

Jennie Golden, Troy’s wife and one of the co-organizers of the event, says participants will not be involved with a race and don’t even need to run or walk the entire distance to Ohiopyle State Park.

Triffanoff came up with the idea of having the benefit on the bike trail because he has been on the trail, finds it to be popular with people, and is a great activity for the family, which he felt suited Hull.

“Eric was all about family,” says Triffanoff.

People who register for the benefit will not only get a free T-shirt, but also will be treated to a picnic-style lunch after participating in the run/walk/ride, at Pavilion One, Connellsville Riverfront Park, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

The reason for having food at the benefit, says Triffanoff, is because Hull liked to cook.

Preregistration will be on Saturday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Value City Center Court, Uniontown Mall.

Hopefully, says Jennie, “we’ll get bombarded with people pre-registering. The organizers say that they have already received phone calls, registration forms and even donations for the benefit.

Registration is $15. Participants also will have the chance to register on the day of the benefit, and there are spots still available on the T-shirt for corporate sponsors for an $100 donation.

Sponsorship started slow, says Triffanoff, but have taken off, with sponsors as far away as Irwin.

Those who don’t want to run, walk or ride their bikes but still want to help, can donate money, and those who donate $20 or higher will received a free T-shirt.

Triffanoff says local companies have been helpful with donating gift certificates, which will be prizes for a raffle for all participants.

“I’ve never been involved with something this big, but I’m looking forward to it,” says Golden, who had two children of his own and can only image how difficult it will be for Hull’s widow, Melissa, to raise Mia and Dominic Hull alone.

The benefit, says Triffanoff, will be a celebration of Hull’s life and to celebrate who he was.

For more information on sponsoring a T-shirt for the benefit, contact Troy Golden at 724-277-0208 or Matt Triffanoff at 724-862-5946.

To donate, make checks payable to National City c/o Melissa Hull, and to either send a donation or for registration (participant’s name, address, phone number and shirt size from small to extra-large needs to be included) send to Troy Golden, 52 Second Ave., Speers Hill, Dunbar, Pa., 15431.

Deadline for donations and mail-in registration will be Oct. 11.


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