September will mark two years since the death of 28-year-old Kevin Adorno.
The Farmington man was planning to propose to his girlfriend at the end of a cycling trip from Maryland to Florida, but never made it.
Instead, police say he was attacked; stabbed to death by a homeless man in a Vero Beach, FL McDonald's parking lot.
Saturday, for the second year in a row, Adorno's family and friends turned that tragedy into something positive for their community.
An army of volunteers got up with the sun to stake signs in the ground, lay out t-shirts, and register riders and runners for the annual Kevin Adorno Memorial Ride and Festival.
“He would have given you the shirt off his back and he would have been here for any one of us,” said volunteer and childhood friend Kyle Chaves.
Adorno’s friends said they came back to volunteer again because it’s their way of keeping his memory alive.
“That kid was the mayor of the town. That kid put a smile on everybody’s face,” said Tim Walczak, another friend and volunteer.
Saturday, there were very few tears, just laughter and cheers, for those who crossed the finish line at Winding Trails in Farmington.
The Adorno siblings grew up going to camp at the park.
“Time is your friend so it does get a little easier, but it will never go away,” said Adorno’s mother Helena.
Through their grief, Adorno’s family found a way to honor the avid cyclist and graphic artist while supporting the passions he pursued.
This year, the event grew to three bike rides, a run, and an afternoon of live music and fun for the whole family.
A bike rodeo was added to teach children bike safety, along with a soccer game, bounce houses, and food.
“What happened to Kevin is tremendously tragic and if we spend too much energy focused on what happened to Kevin we can probably all sink ourselves pretty quick. If we channel our energy into beautiful things like this with the support of our community and friends and family it’s the best way to handle something as tragic as that,” said Adorno’s sister Tanya.
The money raised Saturday goes back into the community providing $1,500 scholarships to art students and money for bike safety programs.
“Good has come from it and he’s obviously touched so many people,” Chaves added.
His mother said seeing the community come together in her son’s memory meant Adorno’s death was not in vein.
“I just think it’s a beautiful way to honor his life,” Helena said.