Bike run to benefit widow, son of Billy Spillers

June 3, 2014
An undated photo of the Spillers family

The Chartiers-Houston community is coming together Saturday to help support the widow and only surviving child of Chartiers-Houston High School graduate Billy Spillers with a bike run.

Spillers, his two daughters, Brooke and Kaylee, and his stepson, Jovon Mangual, were killed when a mudslide destroyed their neighborhood in Oso, Wash., in March. His widow, Jonielle, was not home at the time of the mudslide, and the couple’s 4-year-old son Jacob was rescued by a helicopter crew hours after the mudslide occured.

Spillers, 30, a former Chartiers Township resident, joined the U.S. Navy and moved west after high school. He recently had obtained the rank of chief petty officer and worked as a Navy counselor at the Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility Pacific Northwest Detachment in Everett, Wash.

Erica Riggle, who graduated with Spillers in 2001, said the Arden Athletic Club holds a charity bike run each year to support members of the community. Riggle said the Spillers Strong Foundation, which benefits Jonielle and Jacob, was chosen as this year’s recipient because Jonielle and Jacob are “still struggling.”

“Everyone was watching and following the story. A lot of our members are Chartiers grads,” Riggle, a member of the Arden Athletic Club, said. “We will continue to support them.”

Riggle said the event will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Arden Athletic Club, 25 Seik Road, Washington, with registration. Registration will last until 11:45 a.m. and will close with a blessing of the bikes by the Rev. Scott Bunting from Cross Roads Presbyterian Church. A military Humvee will lead the procession of motorcycles.

Riggle said the bike run is roughly 90 miles, with the last stop being Chartiers-Houston High School at 4 p.m. There, riders will honor Spillers with a moment of silence.

After the bike run, riders and the public are invited back to the Arden Athletic Club for a barbeque dinner, Spillers’ favorite meal. Riggle said a DJ will be at the club from 7 p.m. to midnight. Attendees can also purchase tickets for a 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction.

Tickets are $20 per rider, $5 per passenger and $10 for general admission.

Nonriders are asked to park at the Washington County Fairgrounds. A shuttle service will be provided.

Riggle said the club is hoping to raise at least $6,000. And while Jonielle and Jacob are unable to attend, Riggle said they’ll be there in spirit. “We will be doing things throughout the day to keep them in the loop,” Riggle said.

Francesca Sacco joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in November 2013, and covers the Washington County Courthouse and education. Prior to working with the Observer-Reporter, Francesca was a staff writer with a Gannett paper in Ohio. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor’s degree in print and broadcast journalism.

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