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Paying it forward: My tribute to Matt Redding

By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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When I left the home of John and Marilyn Redding last Friday, I understood how the family of an organ donor recipient must feel when they meet the family of the person who gave their loved one life.
 
Nine years ago, my son nearly lost his life in a solo vehicle accident on Sunset Boulevard.
 
Earlier that evening, Bryce had gone out drinking and partying with his friends. When his best friend attempted to take the car keys away from him at the end of the evening, Bryce managed to elude him and started driving home.
 
Sam would tell me later that he followed Bryce all the way back to Rocklin – finally relaxing when he saw Bryce pull into the apartment complex.
 
But Bryce didn’t go home. Instead, he pulled out of the complex and began driving in the direction of my home. 
 
What happened next is unclear. It appears his truck hit the center median with enough force to cause it to spin out, hit a tree on the side of the road and flip over. 
 
Bryce, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the passenger side window and became pinned underneath the truck.
 
The resident living at that corner heard the crash and called 9-1-1. 
 
As the Reddings told me, their son, Rocklin Police officer Matt Redding, arrived moments after the accident. He crawled under the truck and checked on Bryce – cleaning the mud and debris from his face.
 
He saw that a portion of the truck was resting on Bryce’s chest – preventing him from breathing.
 
Drawing on what the Reddings describe as their son’s inner and physical strengths, Matt lifted the truck off Bryce. Firefighters, who were by then on the scene, pulled my son out and revived him.
 
In the weeks after Bryce was released from the hospital, Matt stopped by to check on him — offering words of support and encouragement.
 
When Matt was killed by a drunk driver two years later, Bryce was visibly shaken and saddened. In the years since, Bryce has honored Matt’s legacy. He no longer gets behind the wheel of a car after drinking and he makes sure none of his friends drive drunk.
 
And he is proud to serve as a firefighter/paramedic. He believes he owes it to Matt to pay it forward.
 
While the Reddings talked about their incredible loss, I was inspired to hear about their commitment to pay it forward with the Matt Redding Foundation.
 
Through donations and fundraisers, the Reddings are able to fund the scholarships they present each year to Del Oro (Matt’s alma mater), Rocklin and Whitney High School seniors.
 
In tribute to their son, John and Marilyn give scholarships to young men and women who are pursuing careers in  the protection and service (police, fire or military) fields.
 
On Sunday, nearly 3,000 people will gather at Johnson-Springview Park to pay  it forward.
 
By participating in the ninth annual Run for Rocklin, these runners and walkers will be raising funds to continue the work started by the parents of our hometown hero.
 
There’s also another way we can all honor Matt Redding. Don’t drink and drive or let your friends drive drunk.