This is a difficult week for the Frank family as the anniversary of their son’s death approaches.
On March 21, 2017, Matthew Frank, 30, died in an early-morning car accident.
He was the only child of Steven and Jacquelyn, a long-time San Luis Obispo family.
They describe Matthew as a wonderful, loving son who had found his passion and a way to be of service to others.
But to the San Luis Obispo community, he was more than that. He was known to his large, social media followers as the relatively anonymous “SLOStringer,” as he chronicled a variety of news events including wildfires and police investigations throughout the county.
Frank was killed in a car crash on Highway 101 in Santa Margarita while on his way to the scene of a two-alarm house fire in Atascadero.
A weekly trip to honor their only son
Although two years have passed, grief still grips the Frank family at times.
“It hasn’t gotten any easier. Most every day, tears come at random moments,” said Jacquelyn Frank, Matthew’s mom.
Matthew’s dedication to the work of first responders was a big part of their lives. The Franks take comfort in knowing Matthew has not been forgotten by the community he loved.
“As Christians, we know one day, we will be reunited with Matthew in heaven and we’ll know why God took him at such a young age,” she said.
On Thursday, the Franks will make their weekly trip to Matthew’s gravesite to put out fresh red roses.
This month is always more difficult for the family as Matthew would have turned 32 on March 6. His birthday was just a few weeks before his death.
‘I have to believe Matthew left his mark on this community’
When Matthew died, well-meaning friends set up a memorial fund in his honor. The Franks are wrapping up the distribution of those funds with their own matching donations.
Just in the last few weeks, the family says donations were made to the Friends of Morro Bay Fire Department for scholarships for future firefighters and paramedics, Friends of Five Cities Fire for search and rescue equipment, and San Luis Obispo Police received money to buy a drone, communications software and some special equipment for the S.W.A.T team.
In addition, the memorial fund will be used to restore an original San Luis Obispo fire truck Matthew had purchased before his death and his parents donated to the San Luis Obispo Fire Department. (CAL FIRE is not allowed to accept donations, according to the Frank family)
“These are all things Matthew would be proud of,” Jacquelyn said.
In their home, the Franks have a wall dedicated to some of the ‘tangible items’ of Matthew which helps ease their loss. One of their most treasured items is his firefighter helmet which was nearly destroyed in the crash.
Jacquelyn says the helmet was restored by members of the sheriff’s office. It is proudly displayed on a handmade stand in their living room.
“I have to believe Matthew left his mark on this community,” she said.
Local first responders turned out en masse along with hundreds of Central Coast residents at Frank’s funeral in 2017. A portion of Highway 101 between Avila Beach Drive and Spyglass Drive was re-named the Matthew “SLOStringer” Frank Memorial Highway last November.
Honoring Matthew & his friend at the Annual Memorial Motorcycle Ride
The annual Matthew Frank Memorial Motorcycle Ride is planned for Sunday, March 31.
Steven Frank, Matthew’s father, tells KSBY News the public is invited to attend the ride which will start at Frank’s former motorcycle shop at 787 Francis Street in San Luis Obispo at 9:30 a.m.
The ride will also honor Scott Corsiglia, 39, of Oceano, who died in a motorcycle crash near Lopez Lake just a few days after attending the memorial ride last year.
Frank and Corsiglia were friends and members of the SLORiders motorcycle group which is hosting the 2 ½ hour long ride.
Corsiglia was a husband, father of two and a former volunteer firefighter in Oceano and a reserve firefighter with Five Cities Fire Authority.
The memorial ride will wrap up at Laguna Lake Park.