On Saturday, September 22 a group of family and friends gathered at the Carlisle Fire Hall to honor Chip Vaughn, a dear friend to the Milford community and father of four that recently passed away from complications due to cancer. In his remembrance, friends of the family hosted an event that included a motorcycle poker run, slow drag and bike show.
Chip touched the lives of many in the Milford area and across the state of Delaware as he worked at Dow Reichhold, Gore and Chesapeake Utilities over the years. An advocate and fan of racing, hunting and camping, Chip was always active in the lives of his family and enjoyed watching his son Gavin as he raced go karts. Just the night before the Ride for Chip event, Gavin won his third go kart championship race.
As Chip began feeling signs of the bone cancer that he would later be diagnosed with, he contributed his weakness and soreness to back pains, never thinking that a serious illness was the cause. The caner would be discovered as Chip fell one afternoon while cleaning the house. As he fell his leg broke into two pieces and he was admitted to the Emergency Room. While at Milford Memorial Hospital being treated for the knee injury, doctors discovered a large tumor on the broken leg and diagnosed him with stage 3 bone cancer.
As the family began to understand what the cancer meant for their father and their family, a mutual friend of the Vaughn family and Butch Elzey, Ms. Rust, connected the two together in an effort to help the family. Elzey, who is know for talking with wounded soldiers about their future at home, spoke with Chip regarding his concerns over the financial future for his family. While talking, Butch promised Chip an event that would help the family and bring the community together around Chip’s illness. Unfortunately, shortly before the event Chip passed away, but the family, seeing Chip’s enthusiasm for the event, asked that it still go on in his memory.
“Chip would have loved to see all of this, he wouldn’t believe it,” commented Chip’s wife Candy Vaughn. “He was a great person and never complained, he was more worried about us than himself. He really fought all the way to the end.”
Among those present on Saturday to honor Chip was coworker and friend Dave Rice. Being a sponsor of Dave as they worked together at Gore, Chip became a father figure and mentor for the young man.
“Chip was always a hard worker and a great man, he would take the shirt off his back for anyone,” commented Dave Rice. “It is great for his family to see so many people here today and it really shows them the impact Chip had on so many lives. He will always be missed but will always be in our hearts.”
As the expenses from Chip’s illness continued to rise, the family was uncertain of their ability to provide an adequate memorial for him, including a headstone. At Saturday’s event Butch and Linda Elzey presented the family with an engraved headstone that read “James W. Vaughn, March, 8 1961 – June 1, 2012, Beloved parent of Amanda, Gretchen and Gavin.” It also featured a picture of a go kart numbered 88 honoring his shared love of racing between Chip and his son.