Published in the July 19, 2017 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — Two years after 10-year-old Sonny Tropeano passed away unexpectedly, Steven and Kevin Connolly paid tribute to their late friend by riding in the 13th annual Reid’s Ride bike-a-thon on Sunday.
The father and son duo raised over $1,800 in Tropeano’s memory as part of the Always Sonny team. Tropeano passed away on July 13, 2015.
Kevin said it was an honor to pay tribute to his late friend by participating in the 28-mile Reid’s Ride for the first time.
“Sonny passed away a little over two years ago,” said 12-year-old Kevin. “And this event was right around the same time. It was great to have a big event that we could pay tribute to my friend and raise money. Sonny was a very generous friend, and he would have loved it if we could raise money for kids that were sick.”
The funds will be donated to the Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer (AYA) Alliance. Kevin’s father, Steven, was pleased so many residents supported them in this year’s Reid’s Ride.
“Through the generosity of so many friends, team Always Sonny raised over $1,800,” the elder Connolly said. “There are so many great friends and supporters in Lynnfield. People really care, and I know the Tropeanos were pleased that so many people gave to a good cause in Sonny’s name. We hope to reach $2,000 for Reid’s Ride, as donations are accepted even after the event.”
Kevin added that Sonny was “a good kid and very kind-hearted.”
“He always cared about other people,” said Kevin. “He was funny and fun, and he always had something to do. He never got bored. He was always doing something. He was drawing or helping his dad with something, or playing outside. He loved his mom and dad and brother and sisters, and he would always be helping them. He liked playing with his friends, and he was always looking out for everyone.”
Steven said participating in Reid’s Ride was a good way to support the Tropeano family as well.
“July is a tough month for the Tropeanos, and they are such great people,” said Steven. “I had the pleasure of knowing Sonny and seeing what a bright and friendly young boy he was. It’s tough seeing people go through such grief, but an event like this allows us to show the family how much their son truly meant to a lot of people. We hope this gives them some comfort.”
The Connollys arrived at Lynnfield High School at 6:50 a.m. to register for Reid’s Ride. They departed LHS at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester 28 miles away at 9:40 a.m.
“It was a fantastic event and the Reid’s Ride folks do a super job,” said Steven. “It was a beautiful day for a ride, and Kevin did super. This was his longest ride ever and he said it was definitely a good workout, but he had been training for weeks to get to this point. We had the good fortune to talk to Reid’s mother, Lorraine, who cycled with us for about a mile. She’s a great woman, and she hopes to see many more orange shirts next year supporting Sonny.”
Steven noted the orange T-shirts they wore were created by Kevin and a few friends two years ago as part of a tribute to Tropeano. The shirts feature the number 55 on the back, which was his football jersey number.
“At the time, many people asked if they could have one, and with the Tropeano’s blessing, we produced about 100 and sold them, with all proceeds going to the Sonny Tropeano Memorial Fund,” said Steven. “Local resident Rob Noe from Universal Screening in Everett donated the production of the shirts directly, and was again a wonderful example of the generosity shown in Lynnfield.”
Steven and Kevin would like to make Always Sonny a new Reid’s Ride tradition.
“We’d definitely like to come back next year and participate, and see if we can get some more participants for the ride,” said Steven.
If residents would like to donate to the Always Sonny team to help the Connollys reach their $2,000 goal, they should visit https://www.firstgiving.com/team/354461.