Ride for Konrad one of many ways friends, family honour young man
© Submitted photo
Each year since his passing in 2009, friends and family of Konrad Feltham holds a Ride for Konrad in his memory and raised funds for The Konrad Feltham Memorial Scholarship Fund. Konrad’s sister, Kristina, has been riding his #103 bike in the ride each year.
Anyone travelling under the overpasses on either side of Bishop’s Falls may have seen #103.
There’s a good chance the number was also spotted on vehicles in the area – signs that Konrad Feltham, though he never went to school in the community, is remembered daily by the many friends he had there.
The #103 – Konrad’s dirt bike number – was painted under the overpasses by his young friends.
His friends, some of whom also have tattoos in his honour, also created the stickers.
“Just after we had lost him, they went to one of the print shops and had a sticker done up,” said Konrad’s mother, Kellie Feltham. “Then… kids came to the house and it was only a week and they had tattoos, it was quite overwhelming that he had so many wonderful friends.”
At 17-years-old, Konrad’s life was tragically cut short in a moose-vehicle accident.
It happened July 3, 2009.
Shortly after, his parents, Kellie and Alec, who live in Sandy Point, were approached by two of Konrad’s friends, Jordan Freake of Norris Arm North and Leonard Ellis of Bishop’s Falls, asking if they could have a dirt bike ride in honour of Konrad.
His parents agreed.
“We lost Konrad in July and we had the ride in August,” Kellie said. “We went the same route as Konrad, Jordan and Leonard always used to ride.”
“We raised money and that year we put it all in the scholarship. When we lost him we decided we would start a scholarship with the money that people gave us at the funeral.”
The Ride for Konrad is still going strong, and it’s getting bigger, raising more funds every year. Money is now put into scholarships in both Lewisporte Collegiate, the high school Konrad attended, and Leo Burke Academy of Bishop’s Falls, to a student who is going into a trade.
Konrad had plans to complete an aircraft engineer maintenance program.
“He was accepted to go into college and everything, he had big plans,” Kellie said.
“He had a lot of friends in Bishop’s Falls,” his mother said.
Since 2010, they have been choosing a charity to support through funds raised on the ride. They include the Janeway, Canadian Brain Society-Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter, and this year, the Boys and Girls Club.
“We just figure it’s time for us to pay it forward to help somebody,” Kellie said. “It’s all in memory of Konrad and it has helped us with the healing. It plays a big role to know that his friends still have him so much in their memory and they still talk about him today.”
This year’s ride took place in the pouring rain on July 7, and despite the weather, more than 200 people attended, one being Konrad’s sister Kristina.
“Every year she rode his bike on the ride,” Kellie said. “Now she lives in St. John’s and on her weekends off, if she has time, she rides it. She was determined that the bike wasn’t going to be sitting idle.”
Kellie said the dirt bike and ATV riders meet by the old trail bed in Bishop’s Falls, drive to Grand Falls-Windsor for a stop, and go to “Jiggs Pit.” With pit owner’s permission, they stop there for a barbeque to end the ride.
On Aug. 21, the family donated half of the monies raised at that time – more than $4,100 - to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newfoundland.
As of Thursday, the total raised this year was at $10,412.
“We are going to be giving an amount directly to the Boys and Girls Club in Norris Arm,” Kellie added.
“When we first lost Konrad, the Boys and Girls Club came out here with food and everything,” Kellie said. “Konrad was a member of the Boys and Girls Club, he used to go out there when he as younger, and he worked there the summer before (the accident).”
Also on Aug. 21, H.J. O'Connell Construction presented a cheque for $5,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newfoundland and Labrador in memory of Konrad.
The company gives away $25,000 a year between five charities, which are selected from applications submitted by employees stating why the organization is important to them.
Shauna Smith, one of Konrad’s friends who is originally from Bishop’s Falls but now working with the company in Labrador City, submitted the application.
“She did it in memory of Konrad,” Kellie said. “It was really touching that she did that.”