Drunk Driving Awareness Event to Fundraise for Tyler Manthe Memorial Scholarship

Marshfield (OnFocus) – Three years ago, a drunk driving accident took the life of Marshfield’s Tyler Manthe.  A designated driver that evening, Manthe was struck by a drunk driver who was well over the legal limit. When he died six hours later, Manthe’s family  and the drunk driver’s family were forever impacted. Tragedies like these are repeated all too often across America, senseless loss of lives.

A Marshfield resident has taken it upon herself to make the best of the tragedy, and in a big way.

Gidget Tobin, Manthe’s mother, shared how the loss of Tyler has turned into a big boost for area students.

“Tyler loved wrestling, and after his death, our family wanted to do something positive, to give back,” Tobin explained. “We decided to hold a fundraiser every year, to provide awareness of the effects of drinking and driving.”

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes, according to the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration.  

In Wisconsin, for the most recent year that data has been finalized, there were 190 deaths and 2900 were injured due to alcohol related crashes, according to the Wisconsin DOT.

“We didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye. If I can share with everyone – saving a life, because of my son, we want people to be aware” 

The fundraiser had a specific purpose, one targeted to benefit other Marshfield wrestlers. On Saturday, September 19, a fundraiser is set for the Bakerville Bar and Grill, and it’s sure to be a slam.

Literally.

Frontline Pro Wrestling will hold an event starting at 6 pm, with proceeds going to fund the Scholarship Fund.

A fitting tribute indeed, a wrestling extravaganza to honor the memory of a wrestler and in turn, build a scholarship fund that benefits wrestlers.

“We set up a scholarship fund at Marshfield Area Senior High for other wrestlers. Tyler loved wrestling, and we knew this was an appropriate way to give back to others who also had a  love of wrestling,” Tobin shared.

The fundraiser impacts far more than scholarship recipients, however. After Manthe’s death, Tobin said the family sought a way to provide awareness of the effects of drinking and driving.

“We decided to hold a fundraiser every year, to raise funds for a purpose, and to provide awareness of the effects of drinking and driving, in memory of Tyler.”

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The fundraising efforts have resulted in three scholarships being granted so far, and it’s not ending any time soon. Reading over the scholarship applications each year is a sort of bonding experience for the family, providing opportunities to relish the memories of Tyler.

“This effort has been good therapy for us. Reading over the scholarship applications brings us some laughs, reading about other wrestlers, what their personalities are like. This process connects us to wrestlers,” Tobin shared. “Our family goes over the scholarship applications, deciding which best fits the story of Tyler. The recipients are thankful, and have sent personal thank you cards, how the scholarships are greatly appreciated. They share how they want to make Marshfield proud of what they are doing.”

Frontline Pro Wrestling is owned by Tobin’s cousin, who wanted to do a show in honor of Tyler.

Tobin explained her vision behind the scholarship fund with a compassionate voice, sharing a powerful message.

“The scholarship, our family’s efforts, it’s all a vehicle for awareness on the impacts drunk driving has on families,” Tobin said. “Two families’ lives are impacted with a drunk driving death. We have to be without Tyler forever.”

Tobin went on to say a goal is to educate young people about drunk driving, to educate them in particular.

“We want to build awareness of the impact of drunk driving. Be safe, just call someone to pick you up, it’s not worth it.”

Tobin’s efforts to promote awareness of drunk driving take on further value when you think about the following statistic. According to the Wisconsin DOT, in 2015 there were 24000 convictions for drunk driving in Wisconsin.

66 people, on average, are convicted of drunk driving each day in Wisconsin.

Positive people  have a way of building everyone up, but there is no shortage of adjectives that describe the efforts Tobin and her family have taken to build awareness of the effects of drunk driving.

Resilient, compassionate, and empathetic all come to mind for sure. Tough certainly is accurate.

The famous English proverb ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going,’ clearly describes what Tobin and her family have orchestrated. Building their scholarship fund is no small effort, for sure.

Perhaps no better way to sum up Tobin’s efforts are a word we could use more in our world.

Selfless.

Webster’s Dictionary defines selfless as ‘showing great concern for and willingness to give unselfishly to others.’

Proof is in the message Tobin wants everyone to hear.

“We didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye. If I can share with everyone – saving a life, because of my son, we want people to be aware.”

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]