Memories and fundraising at Driver Days

Published 10:34 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A morning run on Saturday and afternoon motorcycle ride on Sunday will offer opportunities to memorialized loved ones at Driver Days.

Runners and walkers will be at the Seaboard Coastline Trailhead in Driver for the StrongWILL 5K and Kids One-Mile Fun Run and Walk on Saturday. Packet pickup will be at 6:30 a.m. up to the start of the 5K at 7:30 a.m. and the one-mile route at 8 a.m.

Participants will follow the trail before looping back to Driver, with more than 150 runners and walkers registered as of Monday, according to Nathan Brooks, husband of StrongWILL founder and president April Brooks. There will be raffle and door prizes, plus offerings of T-shirts and medals.

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April Brooks founded StrongWILL in memory of her brother, William West, who died in 2016 from a heroin overdose. The organization raises awareness about drug addiction and helps people struggling with addiction by raising money for local organizations that provide resources for addicts and their families.

This is the third year StrongWILL volunteers have held the fundraising event. According to Nathan Brooks, $8,586 was raised last year for the Suffolk Police Department to buy four to six automated external defibrillators for patrol cars. The annual fundraiser raised more than $13,000 in the first two years combined.

The goal this year is to raise about $9,000 for local hospitals to purchase equipment and comforts that will help newborn babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a withdrawal syndrome in infants that’s caused by in-utero exposure to drugs of dependence.

“We want nothing more than the opportunity to raise awareness of addiction, to support local organizations that are helping to fight addiction and to let people know that they’re not alone,” Nathan Brooks said. “They don’t have to hide or worry about being there by themselves. There are people out here that are here for them.”

Participants can register the day of the event and also during packet pickup from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Driver trailhead. Cash and credit cards will be accepted. Register at or visit for more information.

On Sunday, the Sherri Parker Memorial Poker Run and Bike Show will bring hundreds of motorcyclists to the Driver Days festival to reunite with friends and remember Sherri Parker, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident 25 years ago.

Sherri Parker’s brother, Craig Parker, helped start Driver Days, and this is the 17th year that the ride has been held, according to Sherri Parker’s twin sister, Holly Hoffler.

“She was very spirited, loved just getting out there and putting it in the wind,” Hoffler said about her sister.

Registration for the poker run will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Bayside Harley-Davidson in Portsmouth on Sunday, and the parade of bikes will stage at 12:30 p.m. at Sleepy Hole Park before the bikers leave for Driver at 1 p.m. The per-person donation is $20.

Riders will be able to register for the bike show from noon to 2 p.m., followed by judging for bike show winners.

There will be door prizes and vendors to go with the outpouring of support that Hoffler has appreciated immensely since the rides first started in Sherri Parker’s memory.

“It’s been nothing but a wonderful way to remember her, and the love, respect and support from the biker community these last 25 years has helped me more than I can even explain,” she said.

Call 538-3944 for more information.