Benefit for a family in need

COVINGTON — Despite the odds stacked against him, a Covington area man is continuing to fight for his life after suffering serious injuries from a motorcycle accident on Sept. 5 along Versailles Road.

“We’ve lived out here for 12 years. He knows that curve. That bike — he could close his eyes and that bike could bring him home,” Melissa Ridenour said. “I’m just waiting for him to wake up fully so that I can be thankful that maybe he’s somewhat of the person he was before this happened. If he comes out the same, that’ll be awesome, but if he doesn’t, I’ll take him however he comes.”

Justin Ridenour had been riding his bike home from a benefit for a friend who had recently passed when he wrecked his bike, ending up in a field nearby his house. In the near-month since the accident, he has undergone several surgeries and treatments, including open heart surgery to fix a 2-and-a-half inch tear in his heart. He still hasn’t woken up from the accident, but according to his wife Melissa, the doctors have been working on command responses from him and he recently gave a thumbs up, which is a good sign.

“He’s not a very good person with being told what to do. You can’t tell him what to do. But we did get some really good responses. This is awesome,” Melissa said. “His body has been more than I think any normal person can handle, and I don’t know how he’s doing it. I have no idea. That’s how strong he is. That’s how strong of a human being he is.”

Melissa describes Justin as a determined individual who, despite being rough around the edges, won’t hesitate to give whatever he can to the people around him, be it money so that they can eat or make ends meet, or fix their vehicle so they can have reliable transportation to make it to work and back. The generosity he gives to others isn’t expected back; despite this, the community has rallied around the Ridenour family in a time where support is needed the most.

The Ridenour & Smith Hog Roast Benefit, to take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Troy Fish and Game, is being held in honor of Justin and to help cover the cost of the unexpected medical expenses caused by the accident, as well as assist with housing payments. Cost to attend is $10 per person and there will be bike games, raffle items, auction items, live music, and plenty of food and drink.

“Right now we’ve got 40 volunteers who are making 2,000 Jell-o shots, to be sold. I’m making 6 gallons of apple pie,” Melissa said. “I don’t expect people to show up, but they’re more than welcome to show up and have good food, good times, good music with good people, have fun, and go home.”

Designated drivers will be provided at the benefit, and there will be campers and tents around the Ridenour homestead for anyone visiting from out of town who need a closer place to stay for the night. For anyone interested in donating anything to the Ridenour family or to the benefit, donations and items can be mailed or brought to 7374 W. Versailles Road, Covington.

“We’ve had a lot of good people step up and donate a lot of stuff, and make it really quick in a hurry. I’m gonna be grateful for whatever little bit I can get, and if somebody doesn’t have a lot to give, that’s fine. You don’t have to give anything. If you just want to come, come,” Melissa said. “I don’t expect people to give money if they can’t.”

Above all else, Melissa says she is grateful for the outpouting of support from the community around her, who have helped with everything from providing transportation to and from the hospital, to keeping up with yard and housework, to making sure she has everything she needs to making the Ridenour home comfortable for when Justin is awake again and able to come home.

“Everyone who has been there for us from day one, thank you. I ask of people, please contact me for anything you may want to do or choose to do before you do it, only because it has become a sensitive situation, and I don’t want anybody doing anything without knowing what the situation is first,” Melissa said. “I want to put a big, huge thank you out there to everyone who has already went out of their way, in any way, to help us. I believe this is all his good, coming back for him.”