Hundreds of San Luis Obispo County residents and fire and law enforcement officials came together Wednesday to honor SLOStringer Matthew Frank, who was remembered for his dedication to community news and honoring the work of first responders.
Frank’s friends, family and followers of his breaking news Facebook page were joined by members of fire and police agencies, whose work he often highlighted. Frank, 30, died March 21 after his car crashed just over the Cuesta Grade on northbound Highway 101 while he was on his way to a house fire in Atascadero.
The memorial service, held at Mountainbrook Church in San Luis Obispo, included a firefighters’ bell-ringing ceremony and a fly-over by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office’s Aero Squadron.
Dozens of fire engines and tow trucks were also parked outside the church in Frank’s honor.
“Matthew Steven Frank was an extraordinary man,” San Luis Obispo fire Chief Garret Olson said. “He captured our community — literally and figuratively.”
DJ Kingma, Frank’s best friend and San Luis Obispo High School classmate, said he enjoyed watching the SLOStringer persona evolve over time. Even during high school, Kingma said, Frank kept radios and scanners in his car to keep track of local goings-on. The two would sometimes spend nights cruising around, listening to the radio and keeping tabs on emergencies in the area, he said.
“It was so exciting to watch SLOStringer grow from its inception to what it became,” Kingma said.
There will also be a candlelight vigil and motorcycle ride on April 5 to celebrate Frank’s life. The ride will begin at 5:30 p.m. from the motorcycle business he owned, SikMoto, and will end at a to-be-determined location, where a candlelight vigil will take place, according to the Facebook event page.
In addition, a memorial GoFundMe page was set up in honor of Frank and had received more than $24,570 in donations as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Its goal is to raise $50,000.