Scott Farney, Brian Groendyk, & Josh Brinks are three ordinary dads from Grandville, MI. By day they’re an engineer, a nurse practitioner, and a sales manager on top of being husbands, fathers, and active in their churches. But in their spare time, they’re training to be part of a special relay team that will compete in this year’s Grand Rapids Triathlon. Their goal in competing on the Olympic Distance course isn’t just for personal achievement, they’re trying to help the legacy of the late Grandville High School student Ryan Fischer live on.
Ryan Fischer was an all-American kid. This past winter the community of Grandville lost a truly special person when just hours before leading the Grandville High School hockey team in a tournament, Ryan did not wake up and had passed away from an enlarged heart. He was the kind of kid every parent dreams of having. Scott Farney described him as the young man “destined to be Captain America”.
Not only was Ryan a 4.0 student who had earned a 32 on his ACT, he’d also recently been accepted and had planned to attend West Point in the fall. He was involved in National Honors Society, Student Government, and a youth group leader at his church. He had earned his varsity letters in baseball, football, and hockey; captaining the latter two teams. Not only had he completed more than 400 hours of community service, but he’d also participated in mission trips the past three years. Seventeen-year-old Ryan Fisher could only be described as “pure gold”.
Ryan Fischer will live on in the hearts of the Grandville community and the people who knew him. The Ryan Fischer Legacy Scholarship has been established to help other amazing students like Ryan further their education. This scholarship is open to any student in the OK Conference who meet the criteria. To find out more about the scholarship check out the website.
This is where Grandville dads Brian, Josh, & Scott come in. They’re racing the Grand Rapids Triathlon Olympic course as Team Tri-in 4 Ryan. Their goal is to help raise funds for the scholarship which has an overall goal of collecting $100,000. Brian Groendyk, who will be doing the swim portion, and Josh Brinks, who will be running already have a few solo triathlons under their belt. Scott Farney has been a fitness cyclist for five years now, but this race will be his first competitive attempt at cycling and his first triathlon.
All three team members have children who attended school with Ryan. Not only do they believe in supporting his legacy, but they’re also doing this for their own kids, setting an example of giving back to the community and personal growth.
Team Tri-in 4 Ryan isn’t the only team working in an effort to keep Ryan’s memory alive and help support the scholarship. Many GHS students and classmates of Ryan’s recently competed in the River Bank Run 5K wearing shirts in his memory. There are also relatives and friends coming into Michigan from New York later in the month to compete in the Bayshore Marathon.
So if you’re at the GR Tri on June 8th and you see Brian, Josh, & Scott as Team Tri-in 4 Ryan, give them an extra cheer. Also, consider supporting this great scholarship by checking out the website. Good luck Team Tri-in 4 Ryan!