Our Town

Our town is mid-sized as towns go. Big enough to offer most everything needed, but with that lingering small-town feel. If one catches breakfast at Mikes on Main or The Mustang or Pops you soon recognize, and are recognized as, regulars. Like most everyone recognizes Hosea, who lost his family in an automobile accident and has never quite been the same. He’s the guy on an overloaded moped, always cheerful, cared for by folks all over town, although most don’t know his story.

Regular Folks

We work hard, care about our families, may or may not attend one of the many churches, and get fired up about politics both local and beyond. We want what we think is good and right. In addition, we are teachers, plumbers, mechanics, store owners, retirees, artists, well-diggers, apple growers, grocers, bankers, coaches, lawyers—ordinary folks. Most get by but haven’t much to brag about, some do better.

It All Began When…..

This particular story all started when my niece discovered she had cancer. WHAT happened is an amazing portrait of our town, and many more communities across this nation.

Out-of-pocket costs for this disease are astronomical. Tonya’s family insurance was decent, but, of necessity, with a huge deductible to keep it within their budget. She and her husband are just folks who work hard for reasonable dreams, like helping to get their daughter through college without huge student loans.

There are good folks all around. Keep an eye open, and join in when the opportunity presents itself. The rewards for all are amazing.

Oh my! Arts I WEAR PINK T-Shirt

Then her brother decided to have a fundraiser.

Great Idea!

First step was a Go-Fund Me page. Friends and family rallied and it has been and still is encouraging. Then her brother decided he wanted to have a fundraiser.

His focus became finding a venue, setting a time, and inviting his many friends, which he had in abundance. This event took on a life of its own, with a silent auction , a raffle and posters around town. Soon the donations for raffle and silent auction items followed. Mom and Pop places were delighted and eager to donate everything from certificates for meals, vehicle work, cleaning, massages, and on and on. Even a cool package of fishing gear. Gift baskets were made for spa treatments, dogs, cats, and more. A friend donated time to create elegant wrapped arrangements of donated items. Another friend who didn’t even know my niece gave a mixture of items that included gold and antique jewelry. Several artists donated hand-made books, boxes, bags, banners and cards.

Amazing Volunteers!

Stepping forward, neighbors came to help haul and set-up the morning of the event. Cars and vans were loaded with the outpouring of good will. Decorating with her own items and wonderful ideas was supplied by another friend. She included a “photo” area and balloons with lights from the ceiling, making it all so festive. Kegs were donated, helpers stepped up. At the last minute a beautiful bicycle was donated for the main raffle prize.

They Came!!

People came. LOTS of people, people we knew, sure, but more that we didn’t know. Seeing the posters, their hearts responded. Amazing and wonderful. They came and bought raffle tickets, drinks and enjoyed the donated food and music. It was noisy and electric, happy and energizing. Our reasonable expectations were blown to bits.

Bidding War

The highlight of the evening was the bidding war over shaving Ryan’s head, inching up as the evening went on until it was between two people. In addition to winning, the winner surprised everyone by giving Tonya the privilege of cutting her brother’s hair, bringing tears of joy and much applause. Eighteen inches of thick, healthy hair was harvested and sent to Wigs for Kids.

Hair cutting about to begin

Almost Unnoticed

As most folks were gathering their things and leaving, in the door came Hosea, fumbling in his pockets. He pulled out a dollar bill and said “I want to help.” However, he wasn’t satisfied and kept searching until he came up with a ten dollar bill. He was so delighted to give. That touching moment was at the end, almost unnoticed.

Tonya, Ryan and Christina

The Measure of Community

The generosity and joy of that night stands as a measure of what “community”—good community—looks like. Yes, the funds raised that night have helped tremendously in the battle against cancer, in addition to the encouragement it gave the family. However, the sense of a town rallying to fill a need will warm hearts and stand as a testament to the goodness of people for a long time.

The moral of this true story is simply this: don’t lose hope. There are good folks all around. Keep an eye open, and join in when the opportunity presents itself. The rewards for all are amazing.

With joy and a full heart,

Ardie Gallant

#Community, #Fundraiser, #Ohmy!Arts, #Cancer, #Hope, #Encouragement, #BeatCancer