Fam­ily, club over­whelmed by com­mu­nity sup­port

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Tobin was play­ing the Grinch was only about 150 feet from their club­house on Ade­laide Street, when it rounded a sharp turn off Pike’s Lane and, ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses, he lost his bal­ance and fell from the trailer. He died at the scene.

Strik­ing just 14 days be­fore Christ­mas, the tragedy shocked and sad­dened the com­mu­nity, and made head­lines across the coun­try.

With his mother, San­dra (Sandy) Mur­phy by his side, Devin said, “I loved my fa­ther.” Al­lud­ing to his fa­ther’s love for his son, Devin added, “and I know for a fact (although) he didn’t al­ways show it that much, but I know for a fact (in some ways) he showed it a lot.”

Kevin Tobin’s 1,500 Suzuki In­truder bike was parked in a cor­ner of the vis­i­ta­tion room next to his cas­ket where he was rest­ing, at­tired in his Relic Rid­ers’ vest.

“The first day I got on that mo­tor­cy­cle with him was the hap­pi­est day of my life” Devin re­called.

“Thank you all for be­ing here and for re­mem­ber­ing my fa­ther. I will make sure his bike, his fam­ily, ev­ery­one is taken care of,” he promised.

Relic Rid­ers’ pres­i­dent Bruno Re­ichel also pledged the club’s sup­port for the griev­ing fam­ily in the dif­fi­cult days ahead.

Ad­mit­ting he couldn’t even “pre­tend to know how you feel right now,” Re­ichel as­sured them, “we will help you get through this, and not just to­mor­row or next week, but for­ever.”

Ex­press­ing his “deep­est sym­pa­thy” to the Tobin fam­ily, he said, “this lit­tle club ... is not just like fam­ily, it is fam­ily. We fight like broth­ers; we love like broth­ers and sis­ters; and we hurt like broth­ers and sis­ters. And right now, we’re hurtin’ big time.”

Big­gest run

Speak­ing di­rectly to his fallen brother a few feet away, the club pres­i­dent said: “I know you’re go­ing on the big­gest road trip you’ve ever been on.” Af­ter a long, emo­tional pause, Re­ichel con­tin­ued, “don’t worry about things back here brother, we got it cov­ered. So ride Pop­eye (Tobin’s club nick­name), we’ll catch up (with you) one of these days.”

Re­ichel said Tobin loved his club and prob­a­bly par­tic­i­pated in its events more than any other mem­ber.

“He had a heart of gold. He’d give you the shirt off his back, even if it meant hav­ing to do with­out one him­self.”

It was a sen­ti­ment echoed by all of those who spoke with The Com­pass last week.

The club pres­i­dent noted Tobin’s last kind deed was to brighten the day for all the chil­dren who saw him in his role as the Grinch.

Fate­ful day

Tobin’s mo­tor­cy­cle broth­ers and fam­ily mem­bers all agreed if Kevin had any way of know­ing Sun­day, Dec. 11 would be the last day on earth, he would prob­a­bly not have wanted to spend it in any other way than with the three great­est loves of his life.

His nephew, 20-year-old Justin Bur­den of Black­head, told The Com­pass his un­cle’s favourite things in life were, “fam­ily and friends, his bike and spend­ing the whole day mak­ing kids happy. He went with a smile on his face.”

Justin’s mom, Mar­garet Bur­den (Kevin’s sis­ter), who also lives in Black­head, agreed with her son, adding, “he went do­ing what he loved.

Hard worker, hard player

“He was the hard­est work­ing man you ever seen in your life,” said Justin, who con­sid­ered his un­cle to be one of his bud­dies. “He worked hard, played hard and was ded­i­cated to every­thing he did. We al­ways had a good time when­ever we were with him.”

Justin and his mom, along with her brother Cyril, sat around the board­room ta­ble at the funeral home to share some of their thoughts about their late brother.

Cyril Tobin re­turned home from Cam­bridge, On­tario for his brother’s funeral.

“This is all over the news up there. I know when I go back, there’ll be ( fundrais­ing) events go­ing on to help out,” he said.

Cyril Tobin re­mem­bered his brother as some­one who “liked to be the big, tough guy. He was al­ways a big man, no ques­tion about it. He was as strong as an ox, but that tough ex­te­rior wore off as soon as you got to know him.”

He re­called his brother was “touched when we asked him to be the god­fa­ther of my son. As big as he tried to act, he had no prob­lem shed­ding a tear. He played the tough guy role, but he was a big teddy bear. He al­ways has been.”

Cyril said his brother “loved his fam­ily and thought the world of all his neph­ews and nieces.

“When I was younger,” Justin Bur­den added, “he treated me like a son.”

“No mat­ter where they were or what they needed, he al­ways looked out for his fam­ily,” Mar­garet added.

Re­mem­ber­ing her brother as a “very kind­hearted man,” she said, “he lived ev­ery day of his life to the fullest.”

Over­whelm­ing com­mu­nity sup­port

Dur­ing Thurs­day’s funeral, St Pa­trick’s Ro­man Catholic Church was filled to ca­pac­ity, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of eight mo­tor­cy­cle and rid­ing clubs from as far away as Gan­dar and Bot­wood.

“The re­sponse from around the prov­ince and across Canada is out of this world,” Mar­garet said.

Gord Ash, a mem­ber of the Relic Rid­ers, said the out­pour­ing of sup­port and sad­ness went be­yond the bik­ing com­mu­nity.

Al­low­ing peo­ple some­times frown upon mo­tor­cy­cle clubs, Ash said, “we are amazed with the sup­port, not only for the club, but also for the fam­ily.”

As for their fallen brother, Ash said, “Kevin was al­ways com­mu­nity ori­ented, es­pe­cially when it came to events the club spon­sored or took part in out­side the com­mu­nity. Kevin would be the first one to be on board. And if you needed a hand with any­thing, he was there 100 per cent. That’s just the type of guy he was. He was just a good guy. He will def­i­nitely be sadly missed by the club.”

Fu­ture pa­rades not the same

The Relic Rid­ers have been so shaken by the tragedy that they agree fu­ture Christ­mas pa­rades will never be the same again. It’s too early to tell, but it could af­fect their fu­ture par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“As far as our club goes, I think it’s some­thing we’ll have to sit down and talk about and reeval­u­ate,” Ash said. “Be­ing a com­mu­nity-based group, it prob­a­bly is some­thing we will do; but again it’s some­thing the club will make a de­ci­sion on and vote on whether we want to do that again. If we do, cer­tainly it will be a me­mo­rial type float in hon­our of Kevin.”

Bruno Re­ichel said they re­al­ize, “it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to change the pa­rade, but hope­fully it won’t change it for­ever or any­thing like that, but it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to tighten up safety reg­u­la­tions and that type of thing.”

Ash agreed, adding, “see­ing kids rid­ing on floats, that’s prob­a­bly go­ing to change. But cer­tainly we wouldn’t want to see it change the pa­rade dras­ti­cally.”

Ash con­cluded: “This was an ac­ci­dent that was not re­ally wrapped around safety. As far as we un­der­stand, he (Kevin) lost his bal­ance and fell off, but that’s as much as we know about that.”

An ac­ci­dent re­con­struc­tion spe­cial­ist from the RCMP was at the scene and car­ried out a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle in­spec­tion on the ve­hi­cle, and the Of­fice of the Chief Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner con­ducted an au­topsy on the vic­tim to de­ter­mine the cause of death. But the RCMP had not re­ceived the re­sults of ei­ther of those re­ports late last week. • Place of birth — Labrador City, Oct. 17, 1970, grew up in Broad Cove on the north shore of Con­cep­tion Bay • Age — 41 years • Oc­cu­pa­tion — welder, em­ployed at Dawe’s Weld­ing & Sons, Har­bour Grace • Mem­ber­ship — an ac­tive mem­ber of Relic Rid­ers Mo­tor­cy­cle Club; joined about six years ago • Fam­ily — mar­ried to San­dra (Sandy Mur­phy) of Car­bon­ear, have one son, Devin; par­ents are Mike and Rose Ann Tobin, Broad Cove; broth­ers: Michael, Johnny, Cyril (Crys­tal); sis­ters: Tina Tobin, Mar­garet Bur­den (David Mil­ley), Bev­erly Roberts and Regina Tobin (Alex Wold­sende­bet) • A tragic end­ing — died Sun­day, Dec. 11, 2011

Mem­bers of the Relic Rid­ers Mo­tor­cy­cle Club line up out­side St. Pa­trick’s R.C. Church in Car­bon­ear Dec. 15 to form an hon­our guard for their fallen brother, Kevin Tobin fol­low­ing his funeral mass.

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