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Williamsport girl's memory honored with events to raise scholarship fund money

Samantha Kelly missed by family, friends, volleyball teammates

May 05, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Riders in Samantha Kelly benefit ride get ready to take off. Friends Gail Patterson and David Monn ride a three-wheeler.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Since her daughter’s death a year ago, Jonna Vinci said she has been hearing stories about what a wonderful person Samantha Kelly was.

“I’ve been proud all year,” Vinci said Sunday afternoon during an event at The Improved Order of Red Men Tribe 84 in Williamsport to raise money for a scholarship program in Kelly’s honor.

Members of the championship Williamsport High School girls volleyball team made the memories even sweeter for Vinci.

Members of the team — of which Kelly once served as the captain — presented Vinci with a ring that had Kelly’s name, team number and “in memory of” inscribed on it.

Vinci showed the silver ring as she and her husband, Brian, checked people in at the fundraiser.

“That was her passion,” said Vinci, talking about her daughter’s time playing volleyball. “She was to go on to college to play.”

Kelly and Brendon Edward Colliflower were killed in a May 5, 2012, accident when Colliflower lost control of a 2007 Honda on Rench Road in the area of Downsville Pike. Kelly and Colliflower had been to Williamsport High School’s prom in Shepherdstown, W.Va. They went off the road in the accident and struck a tree.

About 600 people turned out Sunday at the Red Men’s pavilion to help raise money for The Samantha Kelly Memorial Fund. Nearly 250 people participated in a motorcycle ride to raise money and the rest of the event included a pork barbecue meal and music from the Davisson Brothers Band.

The Vincis said $25 was collected for each motorcycle in the ride, and riders paid an additional $15 if they had another person on the bike. The ride’s route included Virginia Avenue, a pass by Springfield Middle School, through Boonsboro and past Antietam National Battlefield.

People who didn’t want to participate in the ride could listen to the band and the meal for $25 apiece, according to the Vincis, who said they expected to raise about $15,000.

Other fundraisers have been held for The Samantha Kelly Memorial Fund, and those involved in running it are getting ready to offer their first scholarship. Eight students have applied for the scholarship, and the one who gets this year’s scholarship will receive $1,000 for four years as long as that person meets requirements such as having a cumulative high school grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, according to the Vincis.

Jonna Vinci said events like the one held Sunday help her cope with the death of her daughter. She proudly pointed to a large replica of a butterfly — similar to those in downtown Hagerstown — and said artist Ricky Havens created it and gave it to her. Kelly was known for her love of butterflies, which appear on the memorial fund’s website at www.samanthakellymemorialfund.org and on other material related to the fund.

Among the people who attended Sunday’s event were Trisha Leigh, Katie Seese and Stacey Christy, who played on the girls Williamsport High School volleyball team and knew Kelly. Christy said the memories of her have been “bittersweet.”

That’s because the Williamsport girls volleyball team went on to win a state championship last year after Kelly died.

“The only reason we won was because of her,” Christy said.

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