Community comes together

Published 8:43 am Friday, June 18, 2010

WINDSOR—Karen Chase made one thing clear.

No matter what, daughters Lindsey, Lauren and Leigh-Ann would go to college.

Friends will make sure the Windsor mother’s commitment is carried out after she died in a Monday car accident in Isle of Wight County.

A fund has already been established for the girls’ education. Proceeds from a monthly bluegrass concert at 7:30 p.m. today, June 18, at Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department’s Station 10 on Route 17, 15020 Carrollton Blvd., will go toward the fund.

“I’m speechless,” her husband, Rusty Chase, said about a friend’s willingness to start the fund and the fire department’s gesture. “She wanted them to get the best education they could and be successful. Everything I’ve ever done is coming back tenfold.”

Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department normally uses proceeds from concerts for department needs, said Albert Burckard, fire department vice president.

“We decided whatever is donated (today) will go to the memorial fund for the girls’ education,” Burckard said.

Carrollton firefighters have a longtime relationship with Rusty Chase because he serves as Isle of Wight County’s emergency services chief.

“I’ve known him for a long time,” Burckard said. “He’s really a great guy.”

Karen Chase was pronounced dead at the scene of the 5:35 p.m. crash on Route 258 near Route 799, Virginia State Police said. The 47-year-old was driving a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle convertible, which crossed into the opposite lane and collided with another car.

Rusty Chase had nothing but praise for his wife’s efforts when it came to raising their daughters.

“My wife has done a great job to make them young ladies,” he said. “My girls are so beautiful.”

Lindsey Chase, 21, is a senior at Old Dominion University, where she is studying psychology and human services.

“She works a full-time job and carries a full load and is a double major, and got inducted into an honor society,” Rusty Chase said.

Lauren Chase, 19, is a sophomore at Paul D. Camp Community College. She is studying business and has a cosmetology license. She hopes to own a hair salon.

Leigh-Ann Chase is 15 and will be a junior at Windsor High School. She would like to study architecture design at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Rusty Chase, who grew up in Franklin with his wife, said he is touched with the community’s compassion for his family.

“When I got home Monday night after the accident, I had hundreds of firefighters, nurses and police officers there,” he said Wednesday. “They were there for me. Some are still here.”

Karen Chase was a registered nurse with Western Tidewater Health District for more than 25 years. Her husband has spent more than 33 years as a volunteer and employee in emergency services.

The family faces a tough road.

“I know we all suffer tragedies,” he said. “I’m humbled, blessed and thankful and glad I had the chance to spend 26 years (with her). Karen always had a smile, never talked bad about anybody and was the most unselfish person. She always put us first. I loved this woman with all my heart.”