Hannah Tilley stood in front of hundreds of people, thinking about the the two worst days of her life, and the three cousins and two close friends she lost in two separate automobile accidents.
Then she took a deep breath and said thanks.
“I am a cousin to Triston, Hunter and Zoey, three of the children lost in the tragic accident two years ago,” Hannah said to the audience who had gathered for the 3rd Annual Urbana 5/Iowa Donor Network event at the Benton County Speeday.
“Nothing can prepare you for something like this and I honestly didn’t know how our friends and family would get through it,” Hannah continued. “Losing the Urbana 5 has left a big void in our lives. However, organizing this Memorial Race and partnering with the Iowa Donor Network has helped us keep their memory alive and has given us great comfort. We encourage everyone to stop down under the grandstands and sign up to be a donor. Death is hard but giving the gift of life is easy.”
Hannah and her family then presented a check for $800 to the Iowa Donor Network.
“I didn’t know if she was going to be able to do it,” said Hannah’s mom, Heather Tuttle. “She was tearing up pretty good when she practiced it at home. She has been through so much. First with losing her cousins and then losing her best friend this past November. I am so proud of her.”
Hannah, age 17, had been best friends with Selena Selena Apodoca. Selena 16, and her little sister Bella, 13, who had lived near the Tuttle family in Belle Plaine, died in a car accident near Cedar Rapids last November.
The third annual event Honors the Urbana 5: Nicole “Nikki” Jacobson, Quentin Ary, Triston Randall, Zoey Tuttle and Hunter Tuttle, who died April 9, 2015, in an accident involving a semi and pickup truck on the Highway 150 curve near Urbana.
In addition to raising money for the Iowa Donor Network, the proceeds from Urbana 5 t-shirts, wrist band and other items helps fund an annual scholarship in their memory.
With the help of several friends. the family has honored the Urbana 5 while partnering with the Iowa Donor Network for the past three racing seasons.
Long time family friend Brittany Usher spoke to the crowd that had gathered last Sunday, June 11.
“It is so humbling to look around and see all of you who have attended this race tonight, especially in this heat. Whether you came here tonight because you heard about the race from someone, you are family or friend of the 5 youths lost in the accident, or just because you attend the races weekly, we can not thank you enough for supporting our cause and coming tonight,” Usher said. “We started organizing this race two years ago for two very important reasons. One is to celebrate and honor the lives of Triston, Hunter, Zoey, Quentin and Nikki; and the second is to celebrate and honor the fact that they are all still living through the lives of others, through organ and tissue donation. All of their families unanimously made the selfless decision to allow them all to be donors, which I find pretty amazing.”
Usher also addressed the unique location for this tribute.
“I have been asked several times why we organize a dirt track race to honor them and the answer to that question is easy,” she said. “It is because they wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. All of them loved dirt track racing and you could find most, if not all of them, here on any given Sunday night. The racing community was like their second family and the Benton County Speedway was like their second home, so organizing a race for them is so fitting and so perfect.”
Usher went on to share some information from the Tuttle family recently received about the impact of the organ and tissue donations from their children.
“The parents recently received letters from the Iowa Donor Network about their children’s donation,” she said. The first letter is about Zoey’s donation. Zoey was able to give the gift of bone and connective tissue for transplant. With her donations, 27 people’s lives were enhanced. She was able to help the body’s healing process after orthopedic, spinal and dental surgery. Her grafts were combined with the recipients own bone and tissue to decrease post surgical pain and healing time and to promote the growth of healthy bone. Because of her donation, she was able to help others accelerate their healing process. Zoey was able to help people in 11 different states and they were the ages of 17-68, both male and female. Wow, isn’t that amazing? She was able to help 27 other people.”
Concerning Triston, Usher offered the following summary:
“The second letter tells us about Triston’s donation. Because of his gift, 97 grafts were created for transplant of bone and tissue. Triston was able to help others in the same way as Zoey. To speed up healing time after surgery, decrease pain and promote healthy bone growth after surgery for 97 people. Four grafts were also created for transplant of vascular tissue and one more bone graft was created to play an important role in creating new technology and medical advancements in treating illness, and curing disease. So altogether, Triston has already helped 102 people with the possibility of helping more in the future. Triston helped others in 16 states from the ages of 18- 74 and people from two countries, the united states and Korea.”
The third letter Usher described was about Hunter.
“Because of his parents’ thoughtful consent for research, his bone tissue will play an important role in the lives of many others in the future. The gift to research will aid in creating a better quality of life for those in need,” Usher said. “I don’t know about you, but I found this information powerful and healing. Can you imagine being able to help and improve the quality of life of so many people? Because of these three Zoey, Triston and Hunter, 129 people’s lives were enhanced and they are able to experience a more active quality of life. After hearing this information, I encourage and challenge you to think deeply about becoming an organ and tissue donor. I encourage you to talk with your families and friends about this selfless gift and help us raise awareness for donation.”
Before the racing began, there was a memory lap in honor of Nikki, Quentin, Triston, Zoey and Hunter.
Tia Tuttle, the mom of Triston, Zoey and Hunter, thanked everyone who participated or donated, and offered a special thanks to Usher.
- 2017 URBANA 5 MEMORIAL/Iowa Donor Network Donors:
Donations to Iowa donor network: Performance Bodies, Tom Hansen, and Fleck sales. Bike donations- Tammy Zimmerman, North Benton Ambulance, Kelby Robb, Kayla Miller and family, Justin Wacha and family, Brett Vanous and family, Knutson Racing, Chesmore family, Liebe trucking, and Fuzz. Gift donations- Lagrange pharmacy, Viking sewing center, Nature’s Corner, Shopko, Airbrushing by Liz, Veronica Anne Photography, Vinton Country Club, Making Waves Salon, Mickey’s Bar, Pizza Ranch, Rooster detailing, Q Doggs BBQ, El Paraiso Bar and Grill, The Pizza Place, Frontier Co-op, Tootsies, Coots Materials, Nicks TV and Appliance, McDonald’s, Jacob and Heather Tuttle and family, and Terri Sellers. Extra place payout donations: Jolyne, Scott and Drew Hogan, Danny Cannon and family, Rules Handyman Service, the Rule family, Stephanie Siebret, Shellsburg car wash, THZ/ Tammy and Tia, Ryan Gibson, and Wayne’s repair. Feature winner purse donations- Benton County Speedway, IMCA, Chad Kauten with local Vizion, Oles 5 Star Realty, David Neas, Jesse Justin and Hayden Hicks, Ray Lough, Brian Vogt, Pearl Street, Ozone, Unity Point Clinic- Urbana and Shellsburg, Koops Automotic, Virginia Gay Hospital, Tharps Design, Spaw Chassis, Kevin Haefner construction, Lori Ballard, Clingman Pharmacy, and Storm Steel. Also, Colby Heishman donated a free wrap to the winners of the modified and micro mods and $100 Gift cards to the hard charger of every class.
- Brittany Usher
- Shawn Usher
- Eric Tuttle
- Charity Washburn
- Tammy Zimmerman
- Tia Tuttle
- Mark Cutler
- Chelsea Carmer
- Stevie Schmitz
- Alexis Waddell
- Hannah Chesmore- pits
- Dakoda Sellers- pits
- Sarah Sellers
- Kaitlynn Kuhn
- Kayla Sellers
- Heather Tuttle
- Hannah Tilley
- Kolton Sellers
- Katrina Wood
- Brooke Sanford
- Katie Long-pits
- Brett Hurst-pits
- Erin Wood
- Taylor Dearborn
- Max Wehage-pits
- Chris Sojka-pits
- Jacob Tuttle-pits
- Mariah Ealy- National anthem singer
- Nolan Tilley
- Jaice Tuttle