Riding the trails in remembrance
Community raising money for 18th year in a row for memorial scholarship
For the 19th year, the Ian Goodwin Memorial Trail Ride will raise funds for a scholarship to support a student with an interest in Math and athletics, in the memory of Ian Goodwin of Greenfield, who died at the age of 16 from stomach cancer.
(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
GREENFIELD — Ian Goodwin of Greenfield was only 16 when he died of stomach cancer. And now 19 years after his passing, the community is still coming together every year to raise money for a scholarship in his memory.
Every year, community members participate in a memorial trail ride to help raise money to sustain a $500 scholarship that goes every year to a ConVal student. Usually the recipient is a Greenfield resident who has a special interest in athletics and mathematics, both areas in which Ian excelled. This year’s recipient was Sara O’Conner of Greenfield.
“He was just a good kid. Just a typical teenager,” recalled his father Rick Goodwin of Greenfield, in an interview in his home Friday. Goodwin said that after Ian’s death, he really wanted a way to ensure that his son was never forgotten. At first the trail ride ran out of the Greenfield Fairgrounds, with riders collecting pledges for miles.
The first year, the funds they raised were given to the Neeley House — a nonprofit that provides accommodations for family of those undergoing cancer treatments at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Mass. The organization is named after Boston Bruins President Cam Neely, whose parents died of cancer. But eventually, Goodwin felt that setting up a scholarship fund in Ian’s name was the right way to make sure his son was really remembered. For the past six years, the ride has been held at the Kokal Farm at 243 Cornwell Rd. in Greenfield.
Knowing that there are people out there that sill remember Ian and ride to raise money for his scholarship every year helps Goodwin deal with the loss, he said. “It helps,” he said. “There are people that come out year after year.”
Ian had two big passions. The first was hockey and the other was the Civil War, Goodwin said.
Ian was very involved with athletics, too. His father coached him in Little League baseball until he was 13, but when he entered high school it was hockey that he really wanted to pursue. The first year he was on the team, his father told him he would have to work at it to become competent enough to play with the team, having never played the sport before. But by Christmas, he was in the game as a regular member of the team, and was loving it, said Goodwin.
Ian had become fascinated with the Civil War only a year before he died, Goodwin said. It mainly started when Goodwin joined the 1st Volunteer N.H. Cavalry in 1992, he said. The following year Ian’s interest in the war grew to the point that he, too, joined the N.H. Cavalry at age 15. Just a few short months before his death, Ian got his own horse, Chiko, to participate in the cavalry. He’d been going to reenactments for a long time, said his father, and had really wanted to become more involved. To this day, the cavalry remembers Ian by being a sponsor of the trail ride to raise money for his scholarship.
When he was 15 years old, Ian and his father took a trip to Gettysburg for the 125th anniversary of the historic battle.
“He said that it was just about the best time of his life,” Goodwin said of the trip.
In fact, Ian’s personal hero was General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, a college professor from Maine, who joined the Civil War as a volunteer with the Union Army. Chamberlain is most famous for his staunch defense of the hill known as Little Round Top, a strategically important point in the Battle of Gettysburg. When Ian died and was cremated, Goodwin said, half of his ashes were put to rest in the Greenfield Cemetery with his grandparents. The other half were scattered at Little Round Top in Gettysburg.
On Friday, a potluck supper will be held for those participating in the ride. On Saturday, the group of riders will leave the Kokal Farm at 10 a.m. for a ride through the Crotched Mountain trails, with a pig roast and live music provided by Tyler Mudrick of New Boston to follow. A second trail ride on Sunday will begin at 10 a.m.
Riders pay $35 per person or $60 per couple to participate in all of the weekend’s activities. Riders can also choose to pay $20 for the Saturday pig roast, or $10 to only participate in the individual trail rides. Riders must bring their own horse and form of horse containment, whether it’s pen, picket line, or tied to the trailer.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.