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What's Up Magazine

Towne Salute: David Ensor

May 01, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo
By Cate Reynolds

Once every spring, the Severna Park Community Center fills with athletes eager to swim, bike, and run their way through the course of the Emily Schindler Memorial Scholarship Triathlon. The Triathlon benefits the Emily Schindler Memorial Scholarship, which was started by Emily’s parents Charles and Jane Schindler immediately following her tragic death. Emily, who was a member of the Severna Park YMCA (SPY) swim team for nine years, was killed in a car accident in 2004.

The Triathlon truly encompasses the spirit of Emily Schindler. Racers even sport pink flamingo attire, which is known as Emily’s symbol. This tribute is organized every year by David Ensor, someone who never had the opportunity to meet Emily. 

“When I tell people about the triathlon they’ll ask me ‘Who is David?’” Jane Schindler says. “They assume he’s a family member or a close friend of Emily’s, but neither is the case.” 

Ensor joined the SPY swim team the fall after Emily’s passing and frequently heard his fellow teammates and coaches talk about Emily and her many admirable qualities. Though he personally didn’t know Emily, Ensor felt like he got to know her through her continued presence on the team.

In 2006 Ensor, who was just 17-years-old at the time, came up with the idea to host a Triathlon to benefit Emily’s Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to SPY swimmers every year. The Schindler family agreed, and Ensor immediately got to work.

“I had no idea how to plan an event like this,” Ensor remarks. “I just thought it would be cool. The first year was definitely a learning experience.”

The second year of the triathlon ran much more smoothly. Ensor continues to tweak the event and make minor changes each year, allowing each event to be more successful than the previous. 

The triathlon is now in its 12th year and Ensor remains its primary coordinator. He even managed to continue its planning while pursuing an architecture degree at The University of Maryland, College Park.

“I could not do any of this without the many people that help me,” Ensor says. “[While I was away at school] I was able to plan from afar and have others be my hands.” 

The Triathlon raises between $3,000 and $5,000, and the Schindler’s have awarded over $45,000 in scholarships since they began the fund in 2004. Every year the scholarship money is awarded to swimmers who embody Emily’s qualities. 

“From what I understand, Emily just wanted to have fun and make everyone happy,” Ensor explains. “She wasn’t concerned about whether she was the fastest swimmer, she was more
concerned about just having fun.” 

Though Ensor modestly credits his achievements to the Schindler family’s constant support and belief in him, The Schindler family attributes the success of the Triathlon entirely to Ensor. They
believe that Emily’s spirit is evident in Ensor’s kindness, generosity, and constant encouragement of others.

“David is an incredible young man who has sacrificed a great deal of time over many years to do something for Emily and our family,” Jane Schindler says.

“There are really no words to adequately thank him for what he has done for us.” To learn more about the Emily Schindler Memorial Triathlon, or to donate to the Emily Schindler Memorial Scholarship fund, visit