ROCKINGHAM COUNTY -- Sixty-five bikers hit the highways this morning, raising money for scholarships in memory of a valley teen. But to the teen's family, "Ride 4 Matt" is more than just a motorcycle ride.
Matt Privott died in 2008, the summer before his junior year of high school. His family says the scholarships they give keep his memory alive and help repay the community for the help it has given them.
"There's not a day that goes by - a minute that goes by - that you don't miss him," said Matt's mother, Tammi.
"He loved motorcycles," she said. "He loved everything about them."
"Ride 4 Matt" raises money for the scholarship program in his memory. The Privotts give out two scholarships in Matt's name to students in Rockingham County. Tammi said they started the program as a tangible way to remember her son.
"People talk about his scholarships, people talk about him," Tammi said.
"He was the funniest person I've ever met in my entire life," said Morgan, Matt's sister. "I don't think I've ever cried so much from laughing."
For the Provitts, the scholarship program is about taking the strength and support they got when they needed it - and passing it on.
"They will feel the connection with Matthew, I think, for a lifetime," she said.
But the process benefits more than the scholarship winners - teenage boys who, Morgan says, are a lot like her brother.
"I see like his spirit live in these boys," she said. "It means everything to me."
...helping in a healing process that started five years ago and will never fully end.
"There's been a lot of ups and downs," said Faye Spitler, Matt's grandmother. "We miss him and we love him. I think as time goes on, we do better."
They say they find solace in the memories, and in the things that meant so much to Matt.
That includes motorcycles.
"I know that Matt's memory will continue to live on," Tammi said. "His legacy, his memories.... He will never truly ever leave us, because of these scholarships."
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