Vandalia Leader

Follow Us On:

Outpouring of love felt during cruise night

Posted on Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 7:32 am

Family of Richard ‘Dicky’ Collier happy with turnout

By Stan Schwartz

VANDALIA—They came in two and threes, some newer vehicles and plenty of classics as they filled the Vandalia Area Fairgrounds preparing for the 3rd Annual Todd Cutright Cruise Night.

Richard “Dicky” Collier graduated with the Van-Far High School class of 1986. All the proceeds from the people donating to participate in the cruise and from the silent auction that was held in one of the fair buildings would be going to help the family with their funeral expenses. Dicky died back in April and his wife, Shallon, died in November of last year. The back-to-back loss of their parents devastated their children, said Sherry Phillips, one of the organizers of Saturday night’s cruise to honor Collier.

The group that put the cruise together, the Compound Mafia, originally named the car cruise in honor of their friend Todd Cutright.

Kyle Campbell said he grew up around Todd, and had known him for more than 40 years before he died in 2019 at the age of 50.

“He never knew a stranger,” Campbell said. “He’d do anything for you. He would have made a great politician. He had the gift of gab.”

Dicky, who did not drive, loved to build and customize bicycles. The family brought one of his favorites along for the cruise—a bright green model with extended forks and a white, fur seat.

Phillips said this cruise was something Dicky wanted to do before he died. She noted that the group looks to honor someone from their high school each year who has died so they can help the families, and when the board met, it was unanimous that the third car cruise would be to honor Dicky, and to help his family.

“He was always smiling,” she said, “even after he got out of the hospital and was hurting.”

One of Dicky’s sisters, Sharon Chatman, said his love of bicycles is what most everyone remembers about him. “When he moved to Atlanta, Mo., he rebuilt all the bikes for the kids of Atlanta.” She noted that Shallon did a lot of crafts and Dicky worked on the bicycles, and the two of them together, were just so laid back. “They just enjoyed being with their family.”

“Their kids couldn’t make it today,” she added. “They’re still struggling. They’re having a real hard time with it.”

Phillips said a lot of donations came in from businesses in Vandalia and Farber for the silent auction. She added that if there are people who still want to contribute, they could reach them through the Van-Far Cruise Night Facebook page or contact her directly or contact Campbell or John Langley.

The Cutright and Collier families gathered in front of Dicky’s favorite bike before loading up and heading into town on Main Street, then a left onto Hwy. 54 heading west to the edge of town and then back.

In her Facebook post, Phillips wrote to thank all those who participated and was grateful for the outpouring of love and sympathy from the community for one of their own. She said it was such a positive thing when the community comes together for a cause.

She thanked Kelly Nation-Mink for spearheading the effort to create the annual cruise.

“Without her getting it going we wouldn’t have our nights, so a huge thank you to Kelly, we love you!” she wrote.

She also thanked Larry and Nancy Thurman Nation and Mickey Mink for all the work they put in at the fairgrounds.

“The grounds are immaculate every time we step out here,” Phillips wrote. “They are our unsung heroes every year for all the behind the scene things we all take for granted.”

She continued her appreciation by thanking the Fair Board family, for coming out and cooking.

“You guys are the best,” she wrote. “I know it wasn’t easy cooking in the heat, so we do appreciate your efforts.”

Phillips extended her appreciation to Todd’s family as well—Janis, Tammy, Mark and their families “for letting us still be apart of yours. Your extended children love you very much Janis and we will keep Todd’s memory alive until we will go meet him in Heaven.”

“To the Collier family,” she wrote, “it was an honor to honor Dicky this year. We as classmates and friends wanted to honor that sweet man and all the smiles and laughs he gave us over his lifetime. Welcome to our Cruise family. You are more than welcome to come plan and stay as long as you like.”

Phillips said the Compound Mafia was started to help and honor people from the Van-Far area.

She wrote, “We added a new member to the ‘Mafia’ last night, and we couldn’t be more proud of her behind the scenes things we have been watching her do. So, welcome to the Mafia family Gina Schambach.

After the cruise most everyone returned to the fairgrounds for a concert, with the music being provided by the Maris Beckett Band.