Saturday, July 7th marked one year since we lost MM moderator and friend, Travis_AFX. Travis was like a brother to longstanding members Ryan Klaussen (RK_2000_z28) and Brandon Jung (ForceFed) as well as a good friend to countless other MM’ers. Ryan, Brandon and Jesse Carpenter along with many special others have turned tragedy into a campaign for awareness of clinical depression, a condition affecting 121 million people worldwide. Their tireless efforts aim to shift heartbreak into hope for afflicted victims and their families. They carry on Travis’s love for cars and helping others in an effort to support those shouldering seemingly insurmountable circumstances. For those new to the forums, you can catch up to the story here: We lost One Of Our Own Today
Enid, Oklahoma, 7/7/12, auto enthusiasts and supporters flocked to the Chisholm Trail Expo Center for the first annual “Travis Billings Memorial Car Show”. Braving 104° degree heat, more than 40 cars, trucks and sportbikes participated in the event. The show drew a great turnout of spectators armed with bottled waters ready to attend and support a noble cause. “We wanted to have a memorial to Travis, he liked cars and we thought this would be a good thing to do and a good way to remember him”, said Jesse Carpenter, one of the event organizers. Ryan said the event was a way to remember Travis and celebrate his life. “We were all very close to Travis, as he and I had been best friends since grade school,” Klassen said. “Travis was a huge car guy and we were all car guys, so we thought this was the most natural thing to do, to bring everybody together and celebrate our friendship.” Brandon saw the event as an opportunity to “pay forward” Travis’s generosity and compassionate demeanor.
All proceeds from the car show are being donated to the youth group at Bible Baptist Church of Enid. “Travis spent a lot of time with that youth group when he was younger,” Klassen said, “… and we wanted to help spread their ministry to help kids who are having a hard time in life and help reach some kids who may be suffering from depression.” He said many people don’t recognize the signs of depression in themselves or their loved ones and often are slow to seek or accept help. “Depression affects a lot of people and a lot of them may not even recognize they’re suffering from depression, especially younger adults” he said. “Everyone’s entitled to a bad day once in a while, but when you keep having bad days over and over and start heading in that direction, it’s not a bad thing to ask for help and go talk to somebody about it.”
I know one should shy away from mentioning personal feelings when reporting an article, but I feel like this is an appropriate time. I knew Travis throughout my childhood and we were friends mostly through junior high, but kind of lost contact due to the “social circles” of high school. During my first couple months as a member of MM, I remember seeing the thread that broke the news of his death. Even though we had drifted from being close friends, I still felt connected in some way since we had basically grown up together but separately. I felt loss as well, but I’m sure it was nothing compared what his family and best friends Ryan and Brandon were feeling. During the weeks leading up to the show, watching the crew hand out fliers, plan events and organize the actual show, I couldn’t help but admire those who had a hand in its inception. They bore the headaches, costs and sacrificed their time to honor a fallen friend. We should all be so lucky to have friends like that. God gives us everything we need and is using Travis’s story to inspire and help others. In closing, I just want to say thank you to Ryan, Brandon, Jesse and everyone else who had a hand in the event. I was honored to be a small part of it and can’t wait to do it again next year.
Depression is real. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression and needs help, please visit: yourlifeyourvoice.org/ or call: 24/7 1-800-448-3000
Shelby , Forcefed & RK
Article written by: Shelbydog!