Continuing Chase’s dream

| Kelsea Renz managing editor |

Nick Chase was going to make that car his own.
It was his third Pontiac Grand Prix. He bought it over the summer as a project to work on. He was going to fix all the mechanical problems throughout the semester, paint the car and replace the tires.
But he never got the chance.
Chase, 22, of Olathe, was in his senior year at Pitt State, majoring in automotive technology, when he was killed in a two-vehicle accident on Sept. 14.
The university mourned his loss, but Chase’s best friend, John Sear, mourned in a different way.
“Not long after the accident, I went to his house and saw the car just sitting there,” said Sear, senior in automotive technology. “I do this kind of stuff for fun. It’s been a way for me to keep busy and help me get over it.”
He also took on the project to help Chase’s family.
“People always say, ‘If there’s anything you need, let me know,’ after people suffer a tragedy, but it’s usually empty words,” Sear said. “I wasn’t OK with that. They had enough on their plate and it was something I could do to help.”
Once the car is sold, the profit will go to the scholarship fund set up in Chase’s name.
“This car is not mine. Nick wanted to keep it and drive it for a few years after he finished it,” Sear said. “Since that’s not an option, it’s my and his family’s desire to raise as much money as possible from it for the scholarship fund.”
Sear has worked over the last few months with the automotive technology department to get the car back in working condition.
“I asked teachers if they wanted to use this in class and have an actual model to diagnose and repair,” Sear said. “They all knew and loved Nick, so anything they could do to help they are more than willing to do.”
Sear says the hardest part will be letting the car go.
“It’s been a placeholder for him. Even though I don’t see him daily, the car’s still there,” he said.
He has to remind himself that letting the car go will be a positive thing.
“What keeps me going is knowing it’s a tool to raise money to help his memory live on here,” Sear said. “I know it already will through the faculty and now the student body.”
Since the repairs have been finished, Sear has been driving the car around town and trying to get publicity to sell it.
“I’m not doing this for me; I’m just trying to get the word out,” he said. “I’m doing it because there’s a good cause people should know about. I’m doing it for my best friend.”

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