By John Burton
FAIR HAVEN — Cole Porter, who was critically injured participating in the Sept. 15 Tour de Fair Haven bicycle race, died last night at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, from the injuries he sustained last month, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Porter lived in Shrewsbury with his wife Megan and two school-age daughters and was a Shrewsbury volunteer fireman.
He was participating in an early heat in the annual bicycle race when he collided with a race official. Porter was taken to Jersey Shore where he remained in a coma and listed in critical condition until his passing.
“I just feel gut punched,” Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli said upon hearing the news. “It is just a very sad and tragic thing.”
Lucarelli has order the flag at borough hall, 748 River Road, to fly at half-staff.
Porter was an avid and dedicated triathlete, who regularly participated in weekly bike rides as well as swims and runs with his fellow athletes. In July he competed in his first Ironman competition in Lake Placid, N.Y. Following his injury, many of the athletes conducted a 25-mile bike ride from Red Bank to Holmdel and back, wearing pink T-shirts – a favorite color for Porter – showing their support for the Porter family. That was followed up by a run a couple a weeks ago and a 3.5-mile swim in the Shrewsbury River on Sunday from Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook to Sea Bright, with the approximately 60 swimmers wearing pink bathing caps.
“Cole was truly a saint on earth and touched so many lives,” family friend and fellow triathlete and Fair Haven resident Cindy Aylward Arko said in an email. “Today is a sad day for all.”
“Cole was the kind of guy to put his arm around you and encourage you to keep going,” Lucarelli said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cole and his family.”