Southsider Voice correspondent
Ninety-six motorcycle enthusiasts revved their engines outside Red’s Place in Bargersville for a benefit ride last September. Kids enjoyed a street fair, complete with face painting, dunk tanks, a bounce house and a lemonade stand. Parents browsed through multiple silent auction items and stopped to shop at various vendor booths.
These activities and many more are in the works again this year.
It’s all part of a scholarship fundraiser called Franklin Strong, which touches the hearts of all Johnson County residents, said organizer Kelli Whitaker, a Greenwood hair stylist.
“As a mom I just couldn’t imagine what the parents were going through,” Whitaker said of the scholarship, in memory of two Franklin High School football players who died two summers ago.
In June 2014 five Franklin area friends were swimming and sunning on the banks of the Big Blue River in Edinburgh.
When Jason Moran, 17, and Michael Chadbourne, 16, reportedly saw female friend Sarah McLevish, 16, struggling in the water, they immediately jumped in to help.
Friends on the bank reported that Moran lifted McLevish out of the water enough that other friends could grab her.
But he then disappeared with the current. The following day his body was located in the river, which was swollen by flooding.
Chadbourne was later declared brain dead.
According to recent reports, McLevish continues to slowly recover from her injuries.
When the tragedy occurred, families across the county stepped forward to offer support, Whitaker said.
To do her part as a mother, she, like many others, is stepping forward again.
Every penny raised will be donated to the Franklin Strong Community Scholarship, Whitaker said.
The ride and street fair will get underway at noon Saturday, Sept. 18, at Red’s Place, 700 N. Baldwin St.; musical entertainment will be provided by Eric Hablen and the Blue River Band. More information is available at Franklin Strong on Facebook.