Holly Mattson’s Dad Gives the Shirt(s) Off His Back for Her

“Big John” Mattson loves his Harley. The Tacoma resident has traveled pretty much every state west of the Mississippi on the bike.
“It’s a sickness, I suppose,” he said.

Along the way he has collected T-shirts from Harley-Davidson dealerships. Much as he values these souvenirs, he’s giving them away in the form of a quilt to be raffled off, to help his daughter, Holly Mattson of Port Orchard, who was critically injured in a car accident July 26 in Pierce County.

The accident claimed the life of her friend, Douglas W. Simmons III of Fife, who was also originally from South Kitsap.

Virginia Ramsey, the 26-year-old woman whose car hit the couple’s car at an intersection in Milton faces charges of second-degree murder, vehicular assault, attempting to elude a police officer and five other counts.

Holly, now staying with her mother, Patricia Mattson in Port Orchard, is recovering slowly. She is “doing better than she has any right to be doing. She’s doing fine,” her dad said.

“Fine” is a relative term for Holly, who against seemingly insurmountable odds, survived a torn aorta (a major blood vessel in her heart) and fractured vertebrae in her neck among other serious injuries. She wears an eye patch and a neck brace. Just getting ready for the day is difficult.

Despite that, “She has a great attitude; she’s very positive,” John Mattson said. “She doesn’t have any hatred or hard feelings about Virginia Ramsey, who hit her. She just says ‘there’s not room in my life for that.’ It would be an emotional cancer for her, so she just doesn’t go there.”

Holly Mattson, who saw Virginia Ramsey at the arraignment, had this to say, “When I saw her at the courthouse, I really just kind of felt sorry for her. She looks like she’s had a hard road and hasn’t had much love in her life. She’s made one bad choice after another that led to this.”

Holly became emotional talking about the ramifications of the accident, especially the fact that Simmons won’t be able to see his two young daughters grow.

Unable to work at this time, Holly faces steep medical bills. She formerly sold a line of licensed Harley-Davidson jewelry. She had been on her way to the airport for a convention when the accident happened. The Las Vegas event would have provided a sizable portion of her annual income.

Among the several fundraisers already held and scheduled for her benefit, John Mattson has donated his Harley T-shirts, which have been made into a quilt by Mona Herring. Herring lives south of Olympia and is a member of Mattson’s HOG (Harley Owners Group).

The quilt is making the rounds of Harley-Davidson stores. It’s not scheduled to make it to the HD store in Silverdale, but anyone who wants to buy raffle tickets can contact John Mattson at imgreystone@yahoo.com for instructions on how to access a PayPal account. The cost is $5 per ticket or 5 for $20. The drawing will be in late November. You need not be present to win.

Other Fundraisers for Holly Mattson
Nov. 19: Voltera restaurant in Ballard will hold an auction featuring a Dale Chihuly painting, a cruise and many other desirable items. The evening will include signature drinks with heavy hors d’oeuvres and dancing; 8 p.m. to midnight, 5411 Ballard Avenue Northwest Seattle, 98107; (206) 789-5100; $60 per person (40 tickets left).

Nov. 20: There will be a benefit concert with the Seattle-based band Absolute Monarchs headlining at Winterland, 1220 Sylvan Way, Bremerton, 98310; $5 cover proceeds will go to Holly; (360) 479-5686.

Holly, who lived in Seattle before the accident, has been blown away by the fundraisers organized by her friends and family.
“It’s all stemmed from people that are South Kitsap people. It’s very amazing what that little town has done,” she said. “I’m very overwhelmed by all the love. It’s very humbling. I don’t know how people go through something like this without it.”

2 thoughts on “Holly Mattson’s Dad Gives the Shirt(s) Off His Back for Her

  1. Holly and her Dad, Big John, are great people. Please try to attend one of the fundraisers, or just buy a raffle ticket for this unique quilt. Mona did an awesome job – it shows the love that people can show for each other.

  2. Big hearts in Giant People.

    Harley Owners Groups are the most philanthropic people in the world.
    They give every weekend to some charity or worthy cause without hesitation. When you see a long line of Harleys going down the highway, count them and multiply the number by 20, that is usually the amount of money each rider has paid to attend the ride with proceeds going to causes the average person has no idea is in need.
    I am so proud to be associated with Big John nad the effort to help his beautiful deserving daughter.
    Godspeed Holly, whatever it takes.

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