$51,000 raised at benefit

Small towns! You just can’t beat them when it comes to helping each other out in tough times. When Jack Kelm was seriously injured in a car accident, his family, friends, teammates and community rallied around. All types of fundraisers have been happening including the hairdressers in town donating a day of haircuts, a youth making bracelets (donation jar), Corn-hole tournament proceeds, Deloraine Royelles and Hartney Hopperettes ladies ball team donations, Royals senior ball team (pass the hat proceeds from a play-off game), Haley Wickham (TeamKelmer t-shirts), Pringles’ Sports Excellence, Liza Park (TeamKelmer bumper stickers), kids selling lemonade, donations to Jack’s trust fund and GoFundMe site and a major benefit evening. There are probably more than these mentioned here and they will be acknowledged as well. The point is, at the heart of it all, a community is at its best when it comes together for a common cause. Jack is a very personable young man and he has obviously touched many hearts. He is like an “old soul” in a young body — he literally talks to everyone and is genuinely interested in their lives. So, it was very easy to give to this inspiring young man.

  And it wasn’t just the Deloraine community — there was great generosity and support from the surrounding area and towns as well.

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  A benefit evening was planned by Jack’s hockey team -the Deloraine Colts — by his teammates and their parents. Social media was a huge help in the planning — once the date was set at Friday, August 10, requests were put out for volunteers to make desserts, organize and work at the auction table, cook steaks, sell tickets and assist with the live auction. Jack’s teammates and fellow graduates worked steady all night cleaning off tables, running steaks to people, parading auction items, and anywhere else they were needed. At the end of the day, $51,000 was the unofficial count – and that was just from the benefit evening — not all the other sources. Incredible!

  Everything was donated — from rainbow auction items, live auction items, all the food — steaks, potatoes, coleslaw, buns and trimmings and desserts; the tent, the music (Kyle, Mark and Brayden Davis, Nolan and Adrianna Brackenreed and Reggie Villanueva) and sound and lighting (Tim Barron), the auctioneering— that’s a lot of generosity and talent!

  Brent Crowe very capably handled the auctioneering duties for the live auction with assistance from Tyson Lehman. Brent even had to get resourceful when the sun went down. No longer able to see the bidders, he asked them to flash their light on their cell phones to bid — this was done for at least five items! I wonder if that’s a first?

  During the live auction, a thank you arrived from Jack and his family. In part it read:

  “It’s hard to believe that on Sunday I will be three weeks since Jack’s accident because it feels more like three months. Jack is making a remarkable recovery, his determination to come home to Deloraine is one of the reasons. He is truly a small-town boy and believe us when we say that he loves Deloraine. We know from the comments we have received that he has touched many of your hearts, please know that you have also touched his. Jack’ many internal injuries are healing as expected and while the injury to his brain will take more time to heal he has started showing improvements an w are hopeful for a full recovery. Jack has started using a wheelchair, he is working hard in physiotherapy and will soon start Spine Rehab. The road ahead will be long and not always smooth but with Jack’s determination and the love and support of his family, friends and community he will be home with us all soon.

  We couldn’t be any prouder to call Deloraine our home. This is truly a great community.”

  And from Jack:

“Thank you to everyone who has organized this event. I feel blessed that people unrelated to me put their time and effort into this event to make it happen. Thank you to my friends who did a lot more than people could ask of them. And all the people that fundraised or donated to help out. I can’t wait to get back to Deloraine to see all the people and thank them all.”

© Deloraine Times & Star

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