BELOIT - After a year off, the benefit honoring a beloved Beloit boy is set to bring out residents, family members and friends once again in his memory.
This year's event honoring 5-year-old Austin Ramos Jr., who was shot and killed in January 2016 in Beloit, will be held on Aug. 31.
The benefit raises money towards a fund dedicated to the "Junior's Superhero" scholarship, which helps seniors in high school in the Beloit area start their college journey. The award is given away each year at the Stateline Community Foundation's scholarship awards ceremony.
"(The benefit) gets bigger each year we've had it," said Jasmin Martinez, the mother of Austin Ramos Jr. "We weren't able to do it last year but it's important we can this year."
Martinez said since 2016, she's kept in touch with most of the scholarship's recipients.
"We've had so much support with friends and family and people reach out to us still," she added.
This year's benefit will include a motorcycle ride starting at Riverside Park to Powers Elementary, the school which Junior attended, to visit a "buddy bench" that was installed by the school in his memory in 2017.
After the ride, the public is invited to Mustang's Bar and Grill in South Beloit for a volleyball tournament and silent auction. Martinez said she's still seeking prize basket donations. Any motorcycle riders are invited to participate in the ride, but are asked to purchase a shirt to wear on the ride that has an 'A' logo stylized like the Superman 'S' symbol - in memory of Junior's love for superheros. Martinez said she wasn't sure about the price of the shirts as of press time Tuesday.
Martinez said the major developments in the case, including all suspects arrested in Junior's death being sentenced to prison, had helped the family put the tough court saga behind them.
"We got some closure, I think," Martinez said. "It's a relief, and I am thankful that it was closed. We are grateful that they caught those involved."
To volunteer or to make a donation, contact Martinez at 608-246-5591. The motorcycle ride starts at 9:30 a.m. and the group will head to Mustang's at 11 a.m.