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Plans moving forward for Plum scholarship

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Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Jeff Boynton is considered by many who have followed Plum athletics through the years to be one of the top athletes in the history of the Mustangs sports program.

He lettered in baseball, basketball, football and track and field at Plum before graduating in 1978.

Boynton had accepted a full scholarship to play football at West Virginia University, but tragedy struck during an all-star game in the summer of 1978.

He suffered a spinal cord injury during a play in the game that left him paralyzed.

The injury left the Plum community shaken, but since then, it has rallied to support both Jeff and his family.

That same community is coming together again for the family after an automobile accident in September involving Jeff and his father, Alan Sr.

A collision with another car on I-79 on Sept. 30 sent both Boynton men to Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Alan now is rehabilitating his injuries in Harmarville, while Jeff continues to recover in the hospital.

Plans to help the family financially and honor Jeff have evolved into a single monetary endeavor.

“At first we thought about helping the family because they've been through so much, including this latest accident,” said Dave Derry, a fellow member of the Plum Class of 1978 with Jeff.

“We thought about anything we could do to help them. But I had just talked with Chris, Jeff's younger brother, and he said the family is OK from a financial and insurance standpoint. They did say they like the idea of a scholarship to build a legacy for Jeff.”

Plans are in the works to establish the Jeff Boynton Scholarship for a Plum senior student-athlete that would be awarded each year.

Donations for the scholarship were requested at last week's Plum High School Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet, and Jeff's Plum classmates are spearheading a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Johnny's in Wilmerding on Dec. 29 from 1 to 7 p.m.

There will be sports memorabilia and a Chinese action of baskets.

Tickets are $20 and can be obtained by emailing Patty Foutz-Baird at or Theresa Martin at theresa

Those who wish to donate Chinese auction baskets should notify either Foutz-Baird or Martin by Nov. 30.

Donations can be made payable to The Boynton Family Fund, c/o Rachelle Guadagnino-Dever, 5134 Harvest Drive, Murrysville, PA, 15668.

Contributions are not considered tax deductible, so consultation of a tax advisor is recommended.

Derry said he hopes this can become an annual fundraiser.

Boynton's No. 22 jersey is the first and only number to be retired by the Plum football program. He scored 27 career touchdowns for the Mustangs.

Boynton once scored touchdowns three different ways in one quarter — a 97-yard kickoff return, a 70-yard punt return and a 6-yard rush.

He was named Plum High School's Most Valuable Athlete in 1978 and was the Keystone Conference football MVP for the 1977 season.

Boynton received induction into the Plum High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at or on Twitter at @Mlove_Trib.

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