Chief Strong

Community supports local man who has supported others

Facebook photo Brandon “Chief” Bilskie with his wife, Shelby, and son, Sawyer.

If you are involved in the racing community, or even if you live in the community, you probably know Brandon Bilskie.

“Chief,” as he’s affectionately known, “knows race cars inside and out,” according to good friend Ben Flasher.

Right out of high school, Bilskie started working with race cars, and has been a crew chief or worked with many local racers like Chub Frank, Ron Davies and beyond. His knowledge stretches to working with Joey Logano, currently a NASCAR driver.

And, if you really know him, you know that Brandon would drop whatever he’s doing to help a friend in need.

“He could be making money doing something else and immediately go help someone tile their bathroom,” said Flasher. “This guy honestly worked 16 to 18 hours a day, and was a very healthy, active, huge family guy.”

Because he helped so many people, Flasher said so many want to help Brandon and his family.

Brandon, at the age of 35, recently suffered at least one severe stroke resulting in two brain surgeries, lengthy hospital stay, and a long rehabilitation.

“The Bilskies are one of the most generous and kind-hearted families known to the many people around them, and are certainly deserving of our support,” said Flasher.

Not surprisingly, Brandon’s wife, Shelby, is humbled by the support. Flasher said she’s being incredibly strong, but anyone who has a one-year-old son, another baby on the way, and a job she just started a couple of months ago would be overwhelmed.

“My wife and I are close to the family,” said Flasher. “Her medical bills so far, they are in the millions. He’s had two brain surgeries so far, four weeks in a West Virginia hospital, transferred to Erie select specialty care, and now at HealthSouth in Erie.”

Brandon’s long-term prognosis “is still up in the air,” said Flasher. “He doesn’t have the use of his right side.”

Flasher said as supportive as this now-Corry family has been, the community wants to return the support with a fundraiser.

“We are holding a benefit for Brandon on March 2,” said Flasher.

The Chief Strong Benefit will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department.

“The money raised will go to Brandon’s medical bills and daily expenses. We welcome contributions from the community (money or auction items).”

For information on the fundraiser or to support the family, call or text Ben Flasher at (814) 730-5155, or visit the “Chief Strong Benefit” and “ChiefStrong” Facebook pages.

Donations/correspondence can be sent to Ben Flasher, on behalf of Friends of Chief, 32251 Route 6, Pittsfield, PA 16340.

“Brandon and his wife, Shelby (Hebner), have a one-year-old son, Sawyer, and are expecting their second child in March,” said Flasher. “Brandon is a family man, and beyond being a great father and husband, he is an incredible son, brother, and friend.”