John Burch took special interest in an Ocean City Patch story in March 2013 about the accidental death of Jorge Barralaga in a fall at a home under construction on Seaspray Road.
Barralaga died on the birthday of Burch's son Christopher, who had been killed in a construction accident in Bethlehem, Pa., in September 2012.
Christopher Burch had been in Ocean City two days before he died, and he even called his father from the Ocean City Boardwalk.
The Burch family had wanted a way to remember Christopher, and they were looking for a family to receive the proceeds from a benefit bicycle ride in his memory.
Burch's wife was able to find Barralaga's widow and eventually met her for lunch along with her three children. Barralaga was a 30-year-old Honduran immigrant who had started his own construction business a year before his death.
"My son Chris was a very caring and giving individual," Burch said. "He would have given his approval of this donation going to the Barralaga family."
The Burch family started their 55-mile benefit ride on a sunny July 27 day in Mount Laurel. Seven started the ride there, but the group picked up three more riders after 23 miles. Another 20 riders joined in for the last 10 miles of a ride that finished at the Seaville Tavern on Route 50.
The Burches have a place in Whippoorwill Campground on Route 9 in Marmora, and they were joined by more than 80 friends and family for their post-ride luncheon at the Seaville Tavern.
Burch said "words could not describe" how appreciative that Barralagas were for the generosity of the riders. He said the two families have now become very close.
"Fact of the matter is if it weren't for my son Christopher and Mr. Barralaga in two separate unfortunate situations, none of this would ever have come about," Burch said. "I am positive these two angels watched over us and put all of this together for a reason."