Rory Joseph Weichbrod, 26, was known for his infectious laugh, smile and being the life of the party. Luke Weichbrod—Rory’s younger brother, reflected on his extroverted sibling who had a bright future ahead of him.

“He really enjoyed playing the guitar. He taught himself when he was a teenager and continued to play the guitar regularly and sing a little bit as well,” Luke said, recalling happier times.

Rory was a Silver Spring, Maryland resident who was finishing up his college degree part-time in the evenings and working full-time as a fine wine sales representative when an unthinkable situation occurred in 2010. After celebrating a friend’s birthday, Rory planned to spend the night at a friend’s house. Along with a friend, Rory walked across Rockville Pike after taking the last train from D.C. around 3 a.m.

“Rory and his friend had stopped at the crosswalk. Thenseven seconds after entering the crosswalk, they were struck and killed by a speeding drunk driver that was going 76 miles an hour down the road in a 40 mile per hour zone,” Luke said.

Adam Hosinski was Rory’s friend who was pronounced dead at the scene. Luke explained that Rory was taken to a local hospital because paramedics who arrived at the scene believed that he had a chance to survive. By the time the Weichbrod family arrived at the hospital, their loved one had passed away.

Despite the preventable and unfortunate incident, Rory was able to bless others in need. The young man who had been injured badly elected to become an organ, eye and tissue donor since the time he became a licensed driver at the age of 16.

“It was something our dad had imparted on us, for me as well, to be a donor when I was of age to get my driver’s license. Your body is yours while you’re here. If something were to happen, you could help other people. That’s one thing about Rory being so young [when the crash occurred]. He had young organs and young tissue. All that could go to someone who could really use it,” Luke said. “That really gave us some solace and peace.”

To the best of Luke’s knowledge, skin grafts and Rory’s corneas were able to be used. Luke said that he became loosely affiliated with Donate Life Maryland, which is the state-authorized nonprofit organization that strives to save and enhance lives through registering organ, eye and tissue donors, about a week after Rory was killed. A basket of Donate Life wristbands and pins were left on his family’s doorstep.

“I wore that bracelet every single day for at least eight or so years. I didn’t ever take it off. It broke one time and luckily, I had a replacement,” Luke said.

He recently joined Donate Life Maryland’s board of directors. Before then, Rory J. Weichbrod Unfinished Business, Inc. was a foundation that Rory’s family decided to establish because his life was cut short by a horrible and traumatic event. Their partial aim is to remember Rory, promote responsible alcohol use and to raise public awareness about the dangers of impaired driving to help prevent similar tragedies. Luke serves as the nonprofit’s volunteer executive director.

Through Rory J. Weichbrod Unfinished Business, Donate Life Maryland wristbands have been given away at charity events. In 2012, a scholarship program began through Rory’s nonprofit. The awards primarily benefit youth from 1215 years of age.

Messages that Luke shares about his brother’s legacy have a positive impact.

(L-R): Rory Weichbrod, Gretchen Weichbrod, Kathleen Weichbrod, Erin (Weichbrod) Carrillo, Raul Carrillo, Robert Weichbrod and Luke Weichbrod in 2008 during Erin’s wedding. Rory is one of Erin’s brothers.
Photos courtesy of the Weichbrod family

“It’s uplifting to find a positive out of something so negative. This pain that my family and I have can be bettered by people that know about Donate Life Maryland, that know that their organ and tissue donation can have a great impact to better someone else’s life after the passing of someone,” Luke said.

He reminded that being an organ, eye or tissue donor can potentially save and benefit the lives of many people.

Each donor potentially can “save up to 8 lives through organ donation and up to 75 lives through tissue donation,” per information that was provided on Donate Life Maryland’s website.

“I think too often people think, ‘To be an organ donor, I need to donate a lung or kidney or something like that,’ but through skin grafts and other tissues, there’s really a vast amount of ways that someone can help through donation,” Luke said. “I think it’s just a remarkable thing to do for your fellow man.”

Please visit https://www.rorysunfinishedbusiness.org to learn more about Rory J. Weichbrod Unfinished Business, Inc. Register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor in Maryland via https://register.donatelifemaryland.org.  

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