A field at the track where slain Chestnuthill Township supervisor Dave Fleetwood spent more than 20 years volunteering will stand as a memorial to him and his service.
On Saturday morning, Pocono Raceway Chief Operating Officer and driver Nick Igdalsky and his family joined with Fleetwood’s family, friends and survivors of the Ross Township municipal shooting in August to dedicate Fleetwood Field. A sign commemorates Fleetwood and others affected by the shooting at the field alongside the track.
A gunman, possibly motivated by a feud with township officials over his property, allegedly killed Fleetwood and two others before he was wrestled to the ground.
Fleetwood, 62, was a zoning officer at Ross and an IBM retiree, but people remember him most for his willingness to help anyone and commitment to volunteering.
Igdalsky told the group that Fleetwood went “above and beyond what we asked him to do.”
Igdalsky also invited the group to give the “start your engines” command later at the ARCA race.
Igdalsky said his family began looking for a way to memorialize Fleetwood several months ago when planning for the race began.
Dave Fleetwood’s widow, Pam Fleetwood, thanked Igdalsky and his family. She said after the ceremony that she joined her husband in parking cars at the raceway over the years for Little League, then as fundraisers with the West End Park and Open Space Commission.
The months since his death have been difficult, she said, as will be the upcoming one-year anniversary.
“Everyone’s doing fairly well,” Fleetwood said. “We all have our good days and our bad days.”
She said a grandson was born in the fall, whom her husband had been excited to meet.
The race day and other events are hard for Fleetwood, because she said she is used to her husband being there with her. But the community has also surrounded her with support, she said, doing everything from plowing snow off her driveway to yard work and other needs.
“Everybody from that night on has been outstanding,” she said.
Fleetwood said she was surprised to hear a few weeks ago that the raceway was planning the memorial.
“I cried,” she said.
Holly Schneebeli, a survivor of the shooting, worked with Dave Fleetwood on a site plan and said the dedication is fitting.
“I think it’s great, because he did a lot of work in the community and was a really giving, caring person,” she said. “And it’s good for Dave’s family to know that he was appreciated and loved by the community.”
Schneebeli has worked the last few months to move forward from the tragic night.
“It’s, you know, one day at a time,” she said. “It’s not easy, but you just move on.”
At Victory Circle later in the day, Pam Fleetwood, family and friends exchanged high fives, hand-shakes and chest bumps with drivers about to start the race and gave the “start your engines” command. Earlier in the day, Fleetwood said she was excited.
“I’m a race fan,” she said.