On September 15th, 2019, the Matthew P. Rein Foundation hosted their annual fundraiser at the Ria Mar in South River, New Jersey. At the event, many different organizations, communities, and groups of people come out to eat, drink, and celebrate in honor of Saint Joseph’s very own Matthew P. Rein ‘13.
Matt was a swimmer for Saint Joe’s whose love for the sport was best shown through his commitment to the team, as he had not missed a single 5:15am practice throughout his entire four-year period at Saint Joseph. Unfortunately, Matt tragically passed away in an off-campus fire at Albright College, on September 13th, 2014.
“The 2019 event was our fifth year of having it,” says Dave Rein, Matt’s father. Dave, and his wife Janice, have both been active members of the Saint Joseph community, as well as within the sport of swimming as a whole, since Matt’s passing. While Dave makes it a point to be present for every 5:15am practice possible in order to watch and motivate the school’s record-winning team, Janice has become a certified official, and the two have each gone on to coach different club teams.
“Our favorite part [of the event] is getting to see everyone that attends each year,” Dave says, “For some people it might be the only time we get to see them each year… other people we see all the time, but it is still nice to see everyone having a good time and remembering Matt in their own way.”
Alumni and active students from Albright College are among one of the many communities which gather to commemorate Matt. One of Matt’s teammates from Albright, Dan Cahill, has since gone on to become to current head coach of the Saint Joseph Swimming Team.
“Matt and I attended Albright College together. He was a Freshman and I was a Senior,” Dan says, “Even though I had only known Matt for a relatively short time, he and I developed a really strong bond through swimming and attending the same school,”
“Knowing Matt on a very personal level, I think he sets a great example as not just a swimmer but as a person. He lived the Saint Joe's way in striving for excellence, and was a Falcon through and through,” Dan goes on to say, “When the opportunity to coach Saint Joe's Swimming came up I wanted to continue that in his honor. By coaching and staying involved, as much as I can, keeps me motivated in remembering my friend, teammate and brothers name alive.”
Along with Saint Joseph and Albright, members of the Village swim club, Metuchen-Edison YMCA swim team, life-long friends of Matt, and more all come together in his name, due to the positive impact he had on so many people’s lives. Dave has even stated that he and Janice “have friends of our's from the running community from back when we used to run road races 25 - 30 years ago that come,” further showing that the family has done nothing but good for all they involve themselves in.
Despite the 2019 event just happening, next years annual fundraiser has already been planned, where the Rein’s “are looking to make it an even bigger event, and have already booked the larger room upstairs at the Ria Mar,”
Whether or not you know Matt, it is almost certain his dedication and involvement within the Saint Joseph community has had an indirect effect on either you or someone you know. The Matthew P. Rein Foundation’s 2020 fundraiser is planned to take place September 13th, 2020, on the sixth anniversary of Matt’s passing, and there is no reason not to attend and pay your respects to Matthew and his family.