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Fundraiser in honor of motorcycle crash victim spreads love, generosity

Sherri Mckibbin, left, and Tracy Bishop wear their tie-dye shirts at a fundraiser in honor of Gabe Bishop held Saturday, May 20. Molly Miller/Butler Eagle.

Tracy Bishop said before her son, Gabriel, died in a motorcycle crash last month, he made it his goal every day to make someone smile.

“And he achieved it,” she said. “He would be the first to put his hand out and help (someone).”

At the spaghetti dinner fundraiser held in Gabe’s honor Saturday, May 18, at the Butler Moose Lodge, members of his family said they wanted to see his legacy carried out.

“He used to go to other people’s benefits whether he knew them or not,” Tracy said.

“I want (people) to remember Gabe. I think I want people to love like Gabe loved,” said Sherri Mckibbin, his aunt. “This world would be a better place.”

At the event, Gabe’s relatives were easy to spot in their tie-dye shirts comprised of his favorite colors, blue and red. On the back was written “Gabe” and “Forever 22.”

Gabe was killed in a motorcycle crash April 28 on Route 422 in Butler Township. Police said he was attempting to pass a pickup truck and clipped its rear bumper. He died at the scene.

Ray Lipke, left, and Tracy Bishop at the spaghetti dinner fundraiser in honor of Gabe Bishop, a 22-year-old motorcyclist who died in a crash in April. Molly Miller/ Butler Eagle.

Ray Lipke, an advanced emergency medical technician and friend of Gabe’s, said he was one of the first responders called to the crash scene.

When he arrived at the event Saturday, he was embraced by Mckibbin and Bishop.

“They’re making me feel like family,” he said. “They’re great people. One of the first things they asked was if I was okay.”

“He’s one of the family now,” Mckibbin said.

Having worked with Gabe in the past, Lipke described him as always being happy.

“He was probably one of the funniest people I’d ever met,” he said.

The stories about Gabe’s impact on the world greatly touched Lisa Brogan, a board member at the Moose Lodge, which is why she wanted to host the fundraiser.

“It’s just such a hard time for (Tracy), my heart just breaks,” she said. “I wish I’d got to meet them before this ... We have to help each other.”

More than 50 raffle baskets were donated to raise money for the event. According to Gabe’s older sister, Dawn Fischer, they just kept coming.

“It shows what an impact he made on this world,” she said. “They just kept showing up at mom’s house, my aunt’s house, here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many baskets.”

“It’s amazing he’s reached so many people,” Mckibbin said of her nephew.

Funds from the dinner will go to a pit bull rescue in honor of Gabe’s beloved dog, Blade, according to Mckibbin. In addition, they hope to add his name to a fallen motorcyclists memorial.

Tyler Mckibbin, said his earliest memories involved his cousin Gabe. He remembers Gabe as caring, funny and smart, and he said he was shocked at how people have rallied around his family.

“It’s beautiful, just the amount of outreach he had,” he said. “I don’t know if we really understood.”

Greg Smith said it was clear to him that his younger cousin Gabe was a consistent person inside and outside of their family.

“That’s the type of effect I would want to have,” he said. “He touched a lot of people and it’s amazing. His smile, it said a lot.”

Gabe Bishop's family at a fundraiser held in his honor on Saturday, May 20. Gabe, 22, was killed in a motorcycle crash on Route 422 in Butler Township last month. Molly Miller/ Butler Eagle.

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