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Bike ride keeps memories alive while raising funds

Russ Chandler is shown with his daughter, Tori, who passed away after an October car crash.
Russ Chandler is shown with his daughter, Tori, who passed away after an October car crash. (Unknown / Unknown)

In the fall of 2013, Silver Run resident Tori Chandler was a junior at Stevenson University and an employee of Brewer's Market in Silver Run. Doug Brewer, owner of Brewer's Market, said he will never forget the Oct. 10 car accident that took Tori from the world.

"Tori was never late," Brewer said. "If she was going to be late she would always call. She didn't show up and we got no call. Her phone was not picking up. Her boyfriend told us she had left college so I called her dad, Russ. Then someone came into the store and told us she had been in an accident."

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Tori was flown to Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where she hung on for five weeks with family and friends at her side, before she died on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.

By January 2014, Tori's dad, Russell Chandler, had launched the Tori Chandler Foundation to keep his daughter's memory alive, awarding scholarships in her honor to students following the same path she had been on, as a human services major at Stevenson.

Brewer, a motorcycle enthusiast, said he wanted to do something positive in Tori's name. Because Tori's dad had ridden with Brewer in the past he approached Chandler with the idea to have a ride in Tori's honor. They recruited other bike enthusiasts and that first ride was held in July 2014.

The third annual Brewer's to Bud's Ride for Tori Chandler will take place Sunday, Sept. 11, beginning at Brewer's Market in Silver Run at 3:30 p.m. and ending at Bud's at Silver Run at 7:30 p.m.

Brewer said the date change — the event was formerly held in July — as well as a change in the route should be pleasing to many.

"For the past few years our route has been around the perimeter of Carroll County. That was a great ride, but I wanted to change it up this year," Brewer said. "This is a mountain ride and we will go up to South Mountain's apple country, through Biglerville [Pennsylvania] and down into Gettysburg."

Kevin Fazenbaker, one of several bikers working to make the ride a success, said his daughter, Stephanie, and Tori were good friends, so Tori spent a lot of time in their home.

"She was very, very special," he said, choking back emotion. "She was just the sweetest person you would ever want to meet. The things she was doing in her life revolved around what everybody else needed. She was one of those people who knew how to listen. Whenever something happened to someone she was there."

Tori's friends say her desire to help others is what drove her to seek a degree in social work.

"It is what she always wanted to do, since she was 8 years old," Russell Chandler said. "She set up a website as soon as she was old enough to use the computer, offering people help and telling them she was there to talk to. It was very cute. Throughout school she was there for friends whenever needed. And she was a volunteer at Rape Crisis Intervention [Service]. She always wanted to help other people and that is why we went the direction we did, setting up the scholarship to help others become the next generation of Toris who will be there for the folks she never got a chance to help."

Christina Beach said she was one of Tori's "many best friends."

"She touched a lot of people and remembering her makes this [event] important," Beach said. "She was always about giving back. She would go out of her way to help somebody else, no matter what it was. Being able to give back to a scholarship [in her memory] allows us to create a ton of Toris — people doing what she was doing and with the grades she had."

Christina's father, John Beach, has helped with the ride since its inception.

"She was just a really sweet girl," he said of Tori. "She had a good head on her shoulders and had everything going for her."

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Fazenbaker said his daughter helps out with registration at the ride annually and every year she makes Tori's favorite cupcakes for riders.

"Everybody that has been involved in the past couple of years gives to the foundation and knows how important this is so they always donate something for the cupcakes," Fazenbaker said.

Ken Lurie, the owner of Bud's, said that when Brewer approached him about that first ride he was happy to "jump in with both feet." He reserves the dining room for returning riders and makes sure to have some special grub on the grill when they arrive.

"When they get off the bike it is nice to have beer and a burger," he said.

Lurie said he is hoping the date change — with less heat — will bring in more riders.

"This is important to the community," Lurie said. "This was a life that was taken away too soon. To keep her name and the promise that this young lady had alive is just something that is necessary."

According to Brewer, they have had as many as 70 people attend in the past. His aunt, Donna Rickell-Green, brings a cooler full of bottled water in her car.

"We've made a lot of memories," Brewer said. "We always do a new tee shirt for the ride and we usually stop somewhere to take a breather, to rest and grab a drink. It gives everyone a chance to talk, get to know each other and share stories of Tori. It's about being together and doing a good thing for a good cause."

Chandler spoke of how it feels to see others support a cause in his daughter's memory.

"It's a great event with great people. We welcome everyone. It is a motorcycle ride but the reality is that people come out in jeeps and cars and other vehicles just to hang out and have a great day."

Fazenbaker said it is hard to explain the feeling of freedom you get when riding a motorcycle.

"But when you are doing it for a cause with a group of others who are doing it for the same purpose it means that much more," he said. "This is to help a future Tori — someone with the same drive and caring that Tori had. She stood for helping anybody and everybody in any situation."

The event welcomes motorcycles, cars and trucks, with a $20 per person fee that will benefit the Tori Chandler Foundation.

Those wishing to ride or donate may call 410-857-0958 or learn more online at www.torichandlerfoundation.org.

If you go

What: Third annual Brewer's to Bud's Ride (motorcycles and other vehicles) for Tori Chandler. Benefitting Tori Chandler Foundation scholarships.

When: 3:30 p.m.start, Sunday, Sept. 11

Where: Beginning at Brewer's Market, 3957 Littlestown Pike, Silver Run and ending at Bud's at Silver Run, 4115 Littlestown Pike

Cost: $20 per person

More information: Call 410-857-0958 or go to www.torichandlerfoundation.org.

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