We're hoping to raise money to aid with the funeral expenses for the families of four dear friends that we've recently lost.
My name is David Chao and I'm a close long-time friend of the dearly departed.
In times of loss, it's hard to think about the financial burden that comes with it, much less, with four individual families.
We're all devastated with grief and any donations will help. All proceeds raised will be split evenly between their four families. Once the campaign is over, I will personally be delivering the proceeds to the respective families Christen, Gary, Richard, and Rocky.
It's with a heavy heart that I start this campaign.....waves have been felt across our community since we lost four very dear friends. They were traveling to the Grand Canyon in hopes to discover something beautiful and probably to find a piece of themselves they didn't know was missing. Sadly, their journey was cut short when a drunk driver ended up driving on the wrong side of the highway and caused a horrific head-on collision. They never made it to the Grand Canyon.
The driver escaped with his life, but the other car, with our loved ones, weren't so lucky.
We lost our loved ones on 8/18/2017.
Here's the most current article for those who need to find the information:
Christen Ehbert, Gary Sidhu, Rocky Saefong, and last but not least, Richard Chum.
They were young, compassionate, and adventurous spirits. They had dreams, they had passion, they had so much potential. They were also taken away from us in the prime of their lives. They brightened up the room with laughter wherever they were.
They were our family.
If you'd like to hear a little more about them, we'll have something about each of them below.
I met Christen when I was in middle school. We didn't know each other as well as we do now. She was so shy and awkward then. We got closer in high school; sharing classes, going on field trips together, and hanging out together. It wasn't until senior year in high school that we really got close. I played a prank on her in piano class, she freaked out and made a scene in front of the classroom. She was embarrassed, but then we laughed about it. We've been best friends ever since.
We used to always stay up late talking about our dreams and our goals together. About how great it would be if we had a chance to visit a place that was truly beautiful like the Grand Canyon or Alaska.
I've been so proud of her, seeing her change over all these years, from a shy and awkward girl to a brave and adventurous woman. Some things have stayed the same over the year, though. She always been compassionate, she's always been nice, and she's always been sincere. Her energy was contagious. She was the shining light of any room.
She was there for me when I lost my brother and nephew...She was there for me when I lost my grandparents. She was always there for me when I was in pain. My dad has had an ongoing battle with cancer over the years and so I was heart broken when she and her family suffered the loss of her mother to cancer. We laughed together, we cried together, we loved together, and we had innumerable adventures together. Christen's friendship has always been a key pillar in my life.
She always loved cooking and the outdoors. A moment of peace and serenity is all she ever needed to keep going, no matter how hard life got. I always made sure I could be there for her when she needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to lean on, because that’s what she always did for me, always.
The world has gotten a lot darker now that her soul has left, but her light will always live on through me and her countless friends and family that she’s touched.
I’m trying to find the composure to write this because I still can’t believe you’re gone. I’ve never written anything like this before but I just wanted to let out as much as I can. After years of not seeing each other we talked, we caught up, and eventually, you told me you felt like something was missing since I was gone. Like something wasn’t right. Now it’s me who is going to feel that forever.
You covered for me when people asked about me. You thought I was mad at you and everyone but I wasn’t. I’m happy I got to share more memories with you these past months. I still can’t believe we became the closest of friends when I knew we were complete opposites. It’s like night and day between us. I still remember a decade ago, when I went to your house early in the morning because I knew you weren’t a morning person and I was. My mom, my stepdad, and I picked you up. I tried to negate how pissed off you would be at me with a Philly cheesesteak sandwich from Dennys. lol. You nodded your head, “Alright”, got in the car, and left with us to SF.
There was another time, back in L.A., it was you, Rocky, and I in the bedroom and you would get so pissed off because I would fall asleep easily while it took you forever lol. I still remember fake sleeping/snoring and you just saying, “You ain’t sleeping B!$ch”. Then we just started talking crap to each other until Rocky woke up and jokily told us to shut up……I could go on and on with stories but I’m going to leave it at that. I don’t think anyone in this world is going to have the same patience you had with me.
Patience, ingenuity, compassion, love, selflessness are the words that come to mind when I think about you. You had the kindest heart I know. You were always willing to help when you can. You were down to do whatever it was, even if it was just listening to music and having some beers on my driveway or chilling at your house or driving out of town to visit other friends. You were so creative and innovative with your ideas. Friend or bestfriend, you surpassed both and became my brother.
I don’t think I need to remind people how awesome you are. Everybody knows. I love you bro. I know every time we drove off anywhere you would say a Cambodian prayer, hold the rosary in the car, and make the sign of the cross. So I know gods got your back up there. I truly am grateful for everything you have done in this life and for being a part of mine.
P.S. We were talking about scaring each other if something happened to either of us. I swear to god, you better not be knocking on my bathroom while I’m taking a dump. Like I told you before I’m getting the Ghost Busters on your ass.
Ever since diaper days, we were partners in crime. We learned to walk together. We learned to drive together. We kept each other strong through our first heartbreak. We even kept each other humble when our heads got too big. Every major obstacle we did it together for 28 years...
With a difficult challenge, unknown adventure or impossible task ahead of us, Rocky would put his hand on my shoulder and say, "God gave us burdens and also shoulders." He would laugh, with a fire of adventure in his eyes, and a mischievous smile. I would take a deep breath and then we would take on the world.
Now... my partner, my cousin, my brother has given me another burden, To carry on his hopes and dreams. I'd like to think he is with me with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.
Rocky has a tattoo on his arm that reads, "The Force flows within You and Without You". He loved the Beatles and Star Wars and tried to combine his loves. He believed that we are all a part of Life, of a greater whole. That connected us all forever. Where ever you are, even though I am without you, you are with me. I love you forever.
You might ask yourself, “Who is Gary Sidhu? Does he have a magic carpet? Was he really “Home Alone” not once but twice? Did he really defeat David Johnson in football 3-1, with one broken foot, and on sand? And did he live up to the nickname “Gary the Snail”? We can’t confirm any of these to be true but we can tell you what we know.
We do know that a police officer once mistook a 10-year-old Gary as a little girl. We know that he was our unpunctual best friend that spoke with a fake accent and taught us to cuss in Punjabi. It’s hard to describe what he meant to us in a couple of paragraphs, but his memory will always live with us. He lives on with the stories that he left us, from the brief time we were allowed to share together.
Our favorite memories of Gary will always be the movies we made together. They will always be a reminder of a time when we were young and everything was in front of us. Making movies allowed us to escape the outside stress of becoming adults, and let us be kids again. Gary loved making movies with us, and his personality was brightly shown in every scene he was in. But as much as he loved making movies with us, we were always on Gary time. Someone told me the other day, that the only bad thing you could ever say about Gary was that he was never on time. And that is the God’s honest truth.
I’ll end this the way we ended our last movie, Home Alone 2. In the last scene of our last movie, we were shooting a scene with Gary, where he was supposed to come into the shot and sit down at my kitchen table.
“Action”, I yelled, starting the scene and expecting him to walk in.
“Action!” I shouted again, with vigor this time.
“He’s in the bathroom,” someone whispered to me. Instead of getting ready for the scene, Gary was in the bathroom, completely unaware that the rest of us were three feet away waiting on him, and laughing about it.
Till the end, Gary was always going to do things on his time. And the rest of us were happy just to be a small part of it
Gary was more than just a friend, he was our brother and he will always be our brother. He was there for us when we needed him and more. We are thankful and blessed to be part of his wonderful family and life.
We apologized for the delay. Writing this isn’t easy because he's deeply missed and we know Gary would want it to be perfect and unintentionally… on Gary time. Stay bang tidy boy! We love you!
-Max & Sean
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