Heartwarming gift after theft: Warren couple receives donated bike in honor of their late son

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WARREN–It was a triumphant and emotional day for Jay Wonders of Warren. Two weeks after a thief stole a bicycle that stood as a memorial to his son in front of the family home in Trumbull County for 15 years, Wonders was able to place a newly donated bike as a lasting tribute to Garrett Wonders in his front yard. “I can`t put it into words, I`m just glad to have one up there, it means that much to me,” said Jay Wonders. Bicycles were always a big part of the life of Garrett Wonders.

Even though he was a proud graduate of Ohio State, a Naval officer, and a nuclear engineer, biking was his passion. But tragically he was killed while on a training ride in 2004. He was only 25 years old. The memorial bike in the front yard gave his parents comfort as they grieved the loss of their son, and that’s why their hearts were broken when the bike was taken.

“We were so lucky to be a part of his life, watch him grow and just wish we could have seen what he would have become but we were lucky, lucky,” said his mother, Shelley Wonders.

The story about the tribute to Garrett Wonders being stolen touched the heart of the owner of Thumm`s Bicycle Shop in Warren. It’s the same shop where the Wonders family bought Garrett`s bicycles when he was a child. “Can you imagine losing a child in any respect is a devastating thing and then for somebody to steal the memorial is just so ridiculous,” said shop owner Augie Thumm. He says he considered it an honor to replace the stolen bike with a new one that will stand as a monument to a family`s love. “Well it`s a great feeling, I`m glad that everything is back to normal again,” said Thumm.

Jay and Shelley Wonders say the simple gift and the support they have received from their friends and neighbors have reaffirmed their belief in goodness and common decency. “We love this as much as the other one because not only is it a memorial to Garrett but it`s a constant reminder of what a great neighborhood we live in, what a great community we`ve got,” said Jay Wonders. “He`s been gone 15 years but he`s still teaching us, we`re still learning from him.”

His name lives on in The Garrett Wonders Birthday Bike Ride, which raises money for a scholarship fund in his name. This year’s event will be held on October 5, 2019.

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