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Event helps injured athlete

Music festival held to raise money for Cole Bellon

Music festival held to raise money for Cole Bellon

October 14, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - At the core of a daylong music festival near Hagerstown on Saturday was Matt Bellon's push to help his partially paralyzed brother, Cole, get a van.

Matt's band, Van Lear, was the last on stage in the parking lot of Beef 'O' Brady's, where he works. It capped a day of band performances, silent auctions and good wishes for Cole and his family.

About 7 p.m., as Cole, 22, waited near a van that would take him home, friends hugged him and offered kind words.

"Remember: Keep the faith," said Fred Papa, whose stepson, Trevor Hullinger, played sports with Cole at North Hagerstown High School.

Hundreds of others shared the day with the Bellons or simply showed up to donate.

Admission to ColeFest was $10. But some contributed more - as much as $300, Papa said.

Terri Huguenin said there will be more fundraising to get Cole a van that could cost as much as $60,000.

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Because Cole is 6-foot-8, the van needs a large door opening, said his mother, Debby Bellon.

Cole, a baseball and basketball player in school, was partially paralyzed in a car crash on Dec. 29, 2006.

He was a passenger in a Toyota Echo that went off Marsh Pike and struck a utility pole, according to an accident report. Court records show that the driver pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence and was given probation before judgment.

The upper part of Cole's spinal cord was injured, Dr. Daniel Sullivan of Parkway Neuroscience and Spine Institute has said.

Cole can move his arms and has some use of his hands, but Sullivan said it's unlikely he'll walk again.

That's not how Cole thinks, said Arthur Claybon, a friend since sixth grade.

"He's seriously determined," Claybon said. "He's not accepting anything but the best. If you say sorry, he'll say, 'Sorry for what? This is just a phase.'

"He's a very strong, strong man."

Claybon was there Saturday, along with Kendall Stoner, Brian Huguenin, Sid Huguenin and many other friends from the schools Cole attended - North High, Hagerstown Community College and Salisbury (Md.) University.

Matt's friend Scott Goldstein came up from Jacksonville, Fla.

"I'm overwhelmed by the support of my friends and the community," Cole said.

Debby Bellon said the van will mean more freedom for Cole, who usually leaves the house only for physical therapy.

Dave Watters, who owns Beef 'O' Brady's with his wife, Linda, said he and Cole decided that the van will be black with purple ghost flames.

The Watterses contributed much to Saturday's event.

"You just want to do the right thing for the people you love," Dave Watters said.

ColeFest started with Van Lear - Matt Bellon, Chris Boggs and Josh Miller - and Dave Watters' son, Sam.

"We just decided it'll be nice to raise a little money and put on a nice show," said Matt, 24. "It snowballed."

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