The best way to ring in the new year


Announcing the Inaugural PMC Memorial  Prize Winners!

Congratulations, Ashley Ring, and Olivia Kavanaugh, the 2016 Co-Winners of The Inaugural Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize! I’d also like to thank everyone who made monetary contributions to the PMC Memorial Prize, raising $5,000 to be awarded to the winners of the scholarship in my brother’s name.

Every gift that HEC receives by midnight, December 31st, 2016, will be matched one to one by the Efroymson Family Fund and an anonymous, Indiana-based donor, up to a total of $30,000!

I can’t think of a better way to usher in 2017!


Jesse Kharbanda, Founder and Senior Advisor of The Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize Fund, and the Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council wrote the following in the recent HEC email newsletter:

There are few experiences more gratifying than meeting warm, compassionate, intelligent, engaging, and dynamic young leaders — those who hold the promise to make our world a better place and remind us of amazing souls like the irreplaceable Paul Chase.

Several of us had the great fortune of gathering together on October 23rd, Paul’s birthday, to celebrate Paul’s life, renew bonds of friendship, and recognize two amazing young leaders, in whom we see many of the qualities that we loved about Paul.

The dynamic young leaders that we recognized on Oct. 23rd, Ashley Ring and Olivia Kavanaugh, are the Co-Winners of the inaugural Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize. Both young women (just seniors in high school) are wise beyond their years. They are role models in academics, music, and student leadership.  More importantly, they are role models through their community service, with a heart for people and for the environment.  Both aspire to do big things for the world: Ashley, as a future veterinarian serving low-income communities and Olivia, as a future oncologist, focused on helping people like her sister, who has a brain tumor.

PMC Prize Advisory Council members, Convened by HEC, flank the Co-Winners of the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize, Olivia Kavanaugh and Ashley Ring. From left to right, Rhea Newman, Sandy Gosling, Lorraine Chase, Terry Briner, Olivia Kavanaugh, Ashley Ring, Beth Avraham, Kathy Williams, and Jesse Kharbanda (Photo credit: Mark Lee/Great Exposures, on behalf of the Hoosier Environmental Council.)

Your financial support makes it possible for the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize — administered by the Hoosier Environmental Council with the support of the all-volunteer PMC Prize Advisory Council — to be able to identify and support emerging young, humanitarian-minded leaders who will keep the legacy of Paul Chase alive for decades to come.

I am wishing you a healthy, safe, and happy new year — a year that we hope will be one marked by many more men and women stepping up to advance the ideals that Paul lived by.


Jesse Kharbanda

Founder and Senior Advisor, Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize Fund

Executive Director, Hoosier Environmental Council

P.S. Please double your impact by giving before midnight on December 31st!  Be sure to note “PMC Prize” in the comment box at the bottom of our donation page to ensure that your donation supports the PMC Prize Fund.

Road Trip to Indiana, Part II

When I awoke Friday morning, little did I know how much Lucy the Cocker Spaniel and I would end up having in common by that evening.

I can’t help but think my brother Paul had something to do with what happened, too. I had often asked if I could spend a week or two at the house. It’s so beautiful there and I imagined myself spending all day writing by the pond, or on the patio. I thought of it as my own personal Ragdale, if you will, without the application process.



Even though I am a delight of a houseguest, Paul was never very enthusiastic about the idea of me spending an extended period of time there. Terry said I was always welcome, anytime. Maybe Paul was kidding, but after what happened Friday night, I’m not so sure.


Terry went to work.   

Lucas treated the house and surrounding areas like a national park, snapping photos of every thing from every angle.

I spent most of our last full day outside, playing with Rudy and Sky.

Never pet a cat while wearing a Bandaid.
Never pet a cat while wearing a Bandaid.
Sky; Mid-belly rub
Sky; Mid-belly rub
Rudy, striking a pose.
Sky-selfie; she didn’t want me in the photo.

Lucas offered to prepare supper, so I got out of his way. When Terry came home, the three of us sat down and ate every delicious thing Lucas had prepared, and enjoyed a nice peaceful evening together.

Until the itching began.

During supper, I couldn’t stop scratching the right side of my mid-section, right where my jeans sat on my waist. I didn’t think much about it but as we cleared the table, the itching became unbearable. I picked up my shirt a tad, and, since I can’t see over The Girls,  asked Lucas if he saw anything unusual.

Unusual is asking your almost 21-year-old son to check out your abs, or the place where abs should be.

Lucas, who didn’t seem traumatized by my request, took  a quick look, yelled, “Oh my god,” and backed away from me. He’s usually pretty “chill” about most things in general, so I knew he wasn’t joking. I ran into the bathroom, hoping I was tall enough to see my mid-section’s reflection in the mirror.

I stood on my tip-toes. There they were. Welts. Red welts. Itchy, red welts had invaded the right side of my abdomen. One was working its way toward my belly button, and several began to form on my right arm and leg, as well.

I ran out to show Terry who immediately said, “You have chiggers.”

“I have What-ers?”



Terry got out one of his bug books and and said, “They’re not still on you.”

Of course, I heard, “they’re burrowing into your skin, having babies, and making you itchy!” I took this news calmly, flailing about the house, shedding clothes as fast as I could, and perhaps shrieking a tiny bit. I heard later that Terry told my mother, “I’ve never seen so much of Leslie.”

I think I kept my underpinnings pinned, but can’t remember. The thought of bugs setting up camp on my body, combined with the itchiness was driving me mad. Mad I tell you!

I took a shower and boiled my clothes. Terry told me I had the  worst case of chiggers he’d ever seen.


I could now empathize with Lucy, except I didn’t smell bad.

I sat on the sofa in clean pj’s, and texted my girlfriends back home for support. When I told them Terry brought me Benadryl, and a cup of tea, you could almost hear the collective, “Awwww” crossing over the border from Illinois. Terry has always been so sweet and thoughtful, and I’ve always felt lucky to have him as my other brother.

Terry with Corey and Brandi.
Terry with our great friends, Corey and Brandi.

My friends were sympathetic and even texted me remedies they had looked up online:




Richard was not as kind. After penning beautiful texts and leaving loving voicemails all week, I received this:


And this:


I had taken many photos with my phone that day. As I lay on the sofa, I decided to calm myself by looking at the pretty pictures I’d taken using the magic box (the Benadryl was kicking in.)

As I scanned through to the end of the photos, I sat upright. I remembered Terry reading out-loud that chiggers tended to jump onto human hosts from low-flying plants, usually at dusk.

By George, the pictures on my camera made the evidence jump out at me! The scene of the crime was as clear as my skin had been before the chiggers invited themselves over for a snack. I had solved the Mystery of the Invading Chiggers!

Exhibit A:

Rudy lolling about in the low-flying plants.

(Exhibit B is not technically an “exhibit,” but more of an an explanation.)

Exhibit B: Who do you think was sitting with her right butt cheek amongst the low-flying plants, while balancing herself on the patio with her left one in order to take this picture?


Lucas drove all the way home so that I could knock myself out with Benadryl, sleep, and try not to scratch (scratch, scratch, scratch!) That night at home, I tried the Vicks Vapor Rub and salt idea. Wow! It worked! I did it for two nights and it really helped. Of course, I had to wash the salty sheets because Richard didn’t like being exfoliated by errant salt throughout the night.

But the best trick I learned was one I figured out myself: The Reverse Bridge Pose Powder Application. Since I couldn’t wear an apparatus to confine The Girls, I realized that, thanks to the laws of gravity, and some knowledge of yoga, a Reverse Bridge Pose was ideal for applying powder underneath those otherwise hard to reach areas.


Oh, and one final thing. I “designed” this t-shirt to commemorate our trip:


Yes, Beth*. There will  be a part III about our incredible day Saturday at Greening the Statehouse in Indianapolis, with Jesse Kharbanda, and Caitlin Priest.

*I am now required, by the laws of Beth, to insert the name “Beth” into every post.

The Silver Linings

Terry, my mother, my sister, our family, and friends will never be able to understand or accept losing our two favorite people, especially within 19 days of each other.

But, we can tell Norman’s jokes, if we can remember them and (even harder) tell them as well as he did. And, we can eat and enjoy every single morsel of food, especially if it involves peanut butter and/or chocolate.

The man even ate Iguana once. My parents were vacationing in Mexico and at dinner one night my father ordered the #7, not knowing what it was. He told me he had said to the waiter, “This meat is very good! What is it?” The waiter said, “Iguana.” My father said, “It tastes like chicken!” I’m not sure if he kept it down, but he was an adventuresome eater who truly savored food, as well as family, friends, and life.

And, we can honor Paul by dancing like no one’s looking, telling jokes, laughing, knowing not to take ourselves too seriously, being present and in the moment, learning and trying new things such as whittling, playing the banjo, and cutting down a dead tree with a chainsaw from inside a rowboat in the middle of a pond (well, perhaps that’s not such a great example! Mom, it never happened!)

Paul wasn’t afraid to live life. He and Terry hiked mountains, went caving, traveled the world, and enjoyed every single thing they did together; even splitting firewood with an ax for the wood-burning stove that warmed their home.

When Paul decided he wanted to learn how to ski, he went to the top of a mountain in Utah. He didn’t waste time on “bunny hills.”  There are many more things I could say, but I will keep my promise that I’d never tell my mother about them.

We can also strive to quietly achieve at least one or two of Paul’s qualities of which there are too many to list, but very few people innately possess. He was kind, gentle, humble, non-judgmental, generous, funny, knew what the meaning of the word “fair” was, and diplomatically tried to make the world a more fair and better place. He was that rare person we were all lucky enough to know and will never forget.

Paul’s friends and colleagues in Indiana would like to hear from his friends, family, and classmates. Only you have the insight into what it was like growing up with Paul.

I was much younger than Paul, and much, much younger than Beth, so I don’t remember much, except that I thought he was really cool. And he had the best hair. And, he was the only person I’ve ever known who could ride a unicycle around the block while juggling.

Please read the message below and respond directly to Jesse Kharbanda

Share Your Reflections, and Learn More

If you would like us to add a tribute that you’ve written about Paul’s life or have any thoughts or questions about the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize, please reach Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, at

Contributions to the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize can be made at:

Thank you,

Terry Briner, and the rest of Paul’s family
Home » Paul Chase Prize

Paul Chase Prize

Paul Chase was a great advocate, lawyer, son, partner, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend.   In his more than thirty year career as a lawyer and advocate, Paul stood up for the chronically ill, the disabled, the elderly, and the financially struggling.   He advanced the causes of affordable energy, climate change action, civil rights, consumer rights, health care access & affordability, and renewable power.   Paul’s remarkable abilities, character, humor, and warmth were widely appreciated by the entire breath of the Indiana public interest community (as seen by the tributes below), including our organization. Paul, our treasured personal friend and professional colleague, was tragically taken from us, due to a car accident, on June 25, 2014.

In celebration of the life of a true champion of social justice, the Hoosier Environmental Council has established the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize.

HEC aspires for the Memorial Prize to be not only an annual honor to a worthy young Hoosier who follows in Paul’s footsteps, but a fund for a modest annual scholarship.    We are very thankful that this Memorial Prize has the blessing of Paul’s beloved partner, Terry, and that our announcement of this honor at Paul’s memorial service on July 2nd provided comfort to Paul’s family overall.

If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund, please go to our Donation page and write “Chase Memorial Prize” in the comments box of the Donation page.   If you would like to give a general gift to HEC in memory of Paul, please write “in memory of Paul Chase” in the comments box. In either case, we will notify the Chase Family of your thoughtfulness and your generosity.

Learn More About Paul’s Life and His Great Impact

Our treasured friend

Fran Quigley, a law professor and long-time advocate for social justice, wrote a tribute in the Indianapolis Star, and Shelia Suess Kennedy, a prominent political commentator and law professor, wrote a piece about Paul here. John Cardwell and Nancy Griffin, champions for health care access and affordability, write of Paul in the Indianapolis Star.   Mike Leppert, long engaged in the Indiana political scene, shares his thoughts about Paul.   Many mini-tributes for Paul can be found at the Shalom Memorial Funeral Home page as well as in this Indianapolis Stararticle.


Share Your Reflections, and Learn More

If you would like us to add a tribute that you’ve written about Paul’s life, write to us at, Subject: Paul Chase.
If have any thoughts or questions about the Paul M. Chase Memorial Prize, please reach Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, at