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Monday, May 2, 2016

Man Up weekend helps Christy family, draws Father's Day Crowd

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Drew and Mark Christy enjoyed a break from rehab last weekend, spending Friday and Saturday camping near Baker's Camp Covered Bridge.
BAINBRIDGE -- A father-son camping trip on Father's Day weekend might seem like a common idea.

For the Mark and Drew Christy, it is anything but.

"It's been rather confined in the last four years," Mark said. "This year we're trying to start living a normal life again.

Drew, a 2006 graduate of South Putnam High School, is recovering from a brain injury he suffered during a 2008 car accident.

He's been healing for the four and a half years since.

Ray Neier hosted Man Up over the weekend, a dual effort to spend time with members of his own family and to help raise donations for the Christy family.

"Mark is the best example of a father-son, and that commitment, that I have ever seen," Neier said. "We'll see how it goes. I'd love to do it every year."

Neier, of New Maysville, is no stranger to helping out community members in need.

A few years ago he helped organize "Love Thy Neighbor" to raise donations for numerous people in New Maysville who were battling cancer at the same time. He found another calling with the Christys.

More than 100 people attended Man Up to support the Christy family and spend time with family. They raised about $5,000.

Mark, though very grateful, found the kindness hard to accept.

"We've had a lot of benefits, frankly," Mark said. "It's a little difficult to be the receiver of that. I'd much rather be the one writing the checks."

This was the first time Drew and Mark had been camping since the accident, but outdoor activities have always been a part of their life.

They would spend days and weekends hiking trails before. The camping trip reminded Mark of that.

The campsite, Neier's property that surrounds Baker's Camp Covered Bridge, had numerous activities going on during the two day event.

A band from the Bainbridge Christian Church played a concert at the event and Drew enjoyed soaking in the music.

But the moments Mark appreciated most were sitting around the campfire on Friday night.

"It's a great way to spend time with my son, my son-in-law and new friends," he said. "It's just great to sit and talk to people."

Neier's effort wasn't entirely altruistic.

Although it was a tremendous cause, it was also a great excuse for Neier to host all of his family, son-in-laws, their fathers and all of his grandchildren.

Nearly half the crowd was made up of Neier and Christy family members.

The two men have been aware of each other for many years, but only first shook hands when Neier visited Drew in the hospital following the accident.

Neier thought it was his time to help the family out.

From the size of the crowd, it seems he timed it just right.

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