Race car driver honors those who lost lives to can­cer

The Kent Island Bay Times - - News - By CHRISTINA ACOSTA

WYE MILLS — Cor­dova NASCAR racer, 22 year-old Tyler Hughes, has been rac­ing his NASCAR Late Model Se­ries with the num­ber eight, honor­ing sev­eral Mid-Shore res­i­dents who have lost their lives to can­cer.

Those who lost their lives in­clude Dale Patrick, 63, of Cen­tre­ville, who died on March 28, 2018; Sirena O’Neil, 62, of Ch­ester­town, lost her life on Aug. 25, 2017; Gaye Ann McHenry, 59, of Greens­boro, died Nov. 11, 2017; Cindy Schlotzhauer, 59, of Cen­tre­ville, died Dec. 8, 2017; Hughes’ dad, Don­ald; She­lia White, friend of Tyler’s mom, Donna Hughes, died Jan. 2010; and Caleb Ham­mond, 11, of Oskaloosa and What Cheer, Iowa, who died on Sept 10, 2018.

The hon­orary car first raced on Satur­day, Sept. 29, in Martinsville Speed­way in Vir­ginia, and he won with the num­ber on Oct. 6 at the Do­min­ion Speed­way in Vir­ginia. He raced the car, de­tailed by Sign Con­nec­tion, all in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber.

“It is spe­cial to me be­cause I get to put other peo­ple’s faces on and rep­re­sent their fam­i­lies as well,” Hughes said. “I wanted to do breast can­cer as a whole, which is why we are go­ing pink for this race, and the rest of the races that we do in Oc­to­ber. But, its not only about breast can­cer, but all can­cers, and try­ing to find a cure for all of them. I wanted to honor those peo­ple and it was a great trib­ute to them.”

Patrick proudly served in law en­force­ment for 40 years with the Tal­bot County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Den­ton Po­lice De­part­ment and the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, where he served as a Lieu­tenant and Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer. He re­ceived three Gov­er­nor’s Ci­ta­tions, a Life-Sav­ing Com­men­da­tion and, most re­cently, the Ja­son Sch­wenz Award — the high­est honor pre­sented by the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

His wife, Michelle Patrick, was very hon­ored to have her hus­band’s pic­ture in Hughes’s car be­cause he was a big fan of race cars.

“[He] was a big race car fan, so its quite an honor to him, and he’d be proud,” said Michelle. “His fa­vorite driver was Dale Earn­hardt Jr. He loved them all but [Earn­hardt] was his fa­vorite driver. He loved the pa­tri­o­tism that is as­so­ci­ated with rac­ing, the an­them at the be­gin­ning of the race and the prayers. I’m proud to be here.”

Schlotzhauer was a li­censed Mary­land Re­al­tor with Rita S. Petitt Real­tors of Eas­ton. Ac­cord­ing to her obit­u­ary, she was the glue that kept ev­ery­thing to­gether at her full-time job at Cen­tre­ville Man­u­fac­tur­ing (Tag-A-Long) as a sec­re­tary, hu­man re­sources, book­keep­ing and run­ning num­bers for the past 15 years. She also helped her hus­band with his busi­ness, MD Sign­crafters.

McHenry was a 1976 grad­u­ate of Tussey Moun­tain High School and re­ceived her AA de­gree from the Al­legheny Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Cum­ber­land.

She worked in Queen­stown as a Lab Tech­ni­cian for Univer­sity of Mary­land Shore Health. She at­tended St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Den­ton, where she was a mem­ber of the Sara Cir­cle

Her hus­band Jim McHenry, of Greens­boro, said that Hughes has gained new fans be­cause he is rais­ing aware­ness about can­cer.

“It’s great that he is rac­ing to try to find a cure for not only brain can­cer, but all forms of can­cers,” said Jim. “It’s a nice trib­ute that a lo­cal driver is will­ing to honor the lo­cal sur­vivors, a lit­tle trib­ute to ev­ery­body.”

O’Neil spent most of her life in the restau­rant busi­ness and con­sid­ered her cus­tomers like fam­ily. Ac­cord­ing to her obit­u­ary, there was no place that she would rather be than on the beaches of Day­tona. She also loved spend­ing time rid­ing on the back of her hus­band’s Har­ley.

Her hus­band, Michael O’Neil, of Ch­ester­town, is still mourn­ing her death, and was happy that her life is be­ing hon­ored.

“I’m still mourn­ing and it is very emo­tional to me, but she’d be proud to be on here,” said Michael. “She never went to NASCAR race, but she would go to drag strip to watch her son. I took the kids to NASCAR when they were grow­ing up all the time.”

Ham­mond was a well­known race fan around the coun­try when he died of leukemia. He loved his sib­lings so much that while at the hos­pi­tal, he would of­ten be sad be­cause he couldn’t be nearer to them, ac­cord­ing to his obit­u­ary. Ham­mond also had a huge love for an­i­mals, es­pe­cially his beloved Yorkie, Pee Wee.

In his free time, Ham­mond loved rid­ing his bike, build­ing Le­gos, at­tend­ing races with his Un­cle Chris, play­ing with his trains, draw­ing, fish­ing and trap­ping, school, spend­ing time with his fam­ily, yelling at his sib­lings and prank­ing his nurses and doc­tors. Ham­mond was an avid race fan and Green Bay Pack­ers fan.

Hughes also hon­ored his fa­ther, Don­ald not only on his car, but also dur­ing his vic­tory on Satur­day, Sept. 22 at the Do­min­ion Speed­way. It was a mem­o­rable mo­ment for him and his mother.

“We pulled into vic­tory lane and [Donna] came up run­ning up to me and she had small urn with dad’s ashes in it or a lit­tle bit of his ashes; and that sur­prised me,” Hughes re­called. “We had talked about you know bring­ing [Don­ald’s] along with us, and she ac­tu­ally did it and we man­aged to pull it off. Plus the Thurs­day night race that we ended up do­ing last year, the Thurs­day night race that we did at Do­min­ion was the last race dad was at, so, that was re­ally spe­cial.”

This is not the first time Hughes raced with honor. In a K&N Pro Se­ries Race at Dover In­ter­na­tional Speed­way, Hughes’ G2 Rac­ing 08 Ford was sport­ing a pink and white paint scheme for lo­cal char­ity Pink Cares of the East­ern Shore of Mary­land, which raises money for can­cer pa­tients.

Hughes started rac­ing at the age of five and has 17 years of rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. His NASCAR K&N Pro Se­ries ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes nine ca­reer starts, and one ca­reer top 10.

His NASCAR Late Model Stock Se­ries ca­reer in­cludes 13 Wins, 2012 NASCAR Vir­ginia Rookie of the Year, 2012 ODS Rookie of the Year. Leg­end cars: 20 Wins, 2011 ODS Track Cham­pi­onship, 2011 MARF Hori­zon Award. Modlites in­cludes 19 Wins, 2007 DMP Track Cham­pi­onship.

In Quar­ter Mid­gets he has more than 100 Wins in 8 classes and mul­ti­ple tracks, one points cham­pi­onship and one Grand Na­tional Ti­tle.

Cor­dova racer Tyler Hughes honors Mid-Shore res­i­dents who lost their bat­tles with can­cer by rac­ing a num­ber with their pic­tures in the num­ber. Fam­ily mem­bers gather with Hughes to ded­i­cate the num­ber.

PHO­TOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

The num­ber honors the late Dale Patrick, of Cen­tre­ville; Sirena O’Neil, of Ch­ester­town; Gaye Ann McHenry, of Greens­boro; Cindy Schlotzhauer, Cen­tre­ville; Hughes’ dad, Don­ald; She­lia White; and Caleb Ham­mond.

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