Brian Waller was one of those ordinary extraordinary guys who passes through this life and makes his mark, and touches the lives of many people and there are those, including his daughter Emily Stone who is going to make sure he isn’t forgotten.
On Sunday, May 21, they will be holding the first Brian Waller Memorial Ride for Kids, an event that is planned on being held annually, beginning at the Complex in West Portsmouth. Registration begins at 11 a.m., kickstands will go up at 1 p.m. The motorcycle ride is to raise money for children. There is an official Facebook page for the event. At the ride they will have 50/50, silent auctions and they will also be collecting any new or used sports equipment.
“It’s a nonprofit ride,” Stone said. “Any money raised from this ride will go directly back to the youth of West Portsmouth, whether it is sponsoring ball teams. If there are kids who can’t pay for their registration, because I know it’s now $45-$50 per kid now — we’ll pay for their sign-up fee — any type of gear, whether it’s football pads, cleats, a bat or gloves, we’ll pay for it.”
Waller passed away last fall, Sept. 3, 2016 to be exact. He was a lifelong resident of West Portsmouth, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, a Toughman champion and a 38-year employee of the A-Plant. After being diagnosed with a rare form leukemia in July of 2014, he faced the biggest fight of his life.
“It’s the most common form of leukemia for kids, but it is the rarest for adults,” Stone said.
Stone said he survived far longer than any person in the medical field told him he would. But being a fighter is all he knew.
“My dad was a softball coach for my sister growing up. She’s three years younger than me,” Stone said. “He was on, I don’t know how many teams, and coached and led them to countless districts, state titles, regional championships. He was on a team that went to the Little League World Series, and placed 4th.”
After he became ill, he was hanging out with friends at a football game when a West Portsmouth resident passed by and said — “That’s a bunch of his 8-5-8s standing there.” The numbers 8-5-8 denote the first three digits of West Portsmouth landline phone numbers.
Waller and others liked the name, so they took off with it. From that point forward they called themselves the 8-5-8s. The best definition is that it is a group of guys who grew up on the “west side” riding motorcycles together.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.