Tyler Onesty Memorial Fundraiser Fights Addiction

first_imgBy MADDY VITALETyler Jay Onesty would have turned 26 on Sunday. The Ocean City High School graduate died of a heroin overdose in 2017. In his memory, and in an effort to help others battle addiction, the third Memorial Scholarship Fund Benefit in his name was held.Tyler’s brother, 22-year-old Zach, and parents Sally and Marte Onesty, of Ocean City, welcomed friends, family members, employees of mental health and drug treatment services and people in recovery, who lined up at Golden Galleon Mini Golf at 11th Street and the Boardwalk to spend a day enjoying Tyler’s favorite pastime – miniature golf.“I feel like we are keeping Tyler’s memory alive and we are helping make an impact on other people who suffer from disease and addiction,” Zach explained.All of the proceeds of the event go toward scholarships for current and future Ocean City High School students who have been affected by drug addiction in some way and are furthering their education at the college level or at a trade school. Donations also go toward providing transportation to detox or rehab facilities.Over the last two years, the benefit has raised $6,000. Sally Onesty said the fundraiser would not be possible without the support of Playland’s Castaway Cove owner, Scott Simpson, who donates the golf course for the event each year. People wait to go inside Golden Galleon Mini Golf at Playland’s Castaway Cove for the benefit.“This year we hope to raise $5,000,” Sally noted. “This is the first year where we have really good weather. If we double the number of people here, then we can double the number of people for scholarships.”Since losing her oldest son, Sally has made it her priority to speak about the opioid crisis throughout Cape May County and the nation. The goal is to save as many lives as she can by offering ways to get people the help they need.It could be as simple as paying for an Uber to take a person to drug treatment or pay for the first week of sober living.Monica DiGesu, a recovery support specialist for Serenity Estates, a Hansen Foundation sober living facility, said she was happy to attend the fundraiser.“We always try to support local fundraisers to help people with treatment,” DiGesu said. Nikki Axler, of Ventnor, is in drug treatment. She played a round of mini golf with friends. “It’s for a  good cause,” she said.Marte Onesty said the day that Tyler died, they discovered his last phone messages were helping others with their troubles with addiction.“He just couldn’t help himself,” he said of his son. “It is good to be able to help kids with recovery or with education in Tyler’s memory.”John McKernan, of Ocean City, displays a tattoo he got in memory of his close friend, Tyler Onesty.One of Tyler’s best friends, John McKernan, 26, of Ocean City, works for the city in the Department of Public Works. He only had an hour to spend at the benefit. But he said he would not miss it for the world.“It feels good to be here. It is a great event that draws a lot of people,” McKernan said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Tyler. He was my best friend. We hung out every day.”McKernan said Tyler had so many great qualities. He even has a tattoo in honor of his friend on his right arm.The benefit helps keep Tyler’s memory alive, but event or no event, he will always be remembered by those who knew him, McKernan noted.“He would do anything to help people,” McKernan said. “He was a charismatic, awesome kid to be around. ” For those who could not attend the fundraiser but would still like to make a donation, send it to C/O Tyler Jay Onesty Scholarship Fund, Sturdy Bank, 661 Asbury Ave., Ocean City, N.J. 08226.Nikki Axler, of Ventnor, sizes up her mini golf shot during the fundraiser. Sally and Marte Onesty with son, Zach, of Ocean City, host the third scholarship event in honor of their late son, Tyler, who died of a drug overdose.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *