GREENSBURG – Last week, the Daily News printed a preview for an event to benefit a Westport man who’d recently been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The disease has confined former truck driver Shane England to a wheelchair and prevented him from working. Several years ago, he and his wife, Gretchen, purchased a home in need of renovations in Westport and have been repairing it over time. When Shane’s disease worsened, Gretchen quit her job to care for him in their home, which is still unfinished.
The benefit took place Saturday in the parking lot of Rural King. In the morning, England’s friends and family gathered to provide BBQ pork sandwiches from In the Pig House, chips, drinks and homemade baked goods for a free-will donation near the entrance to the store.
In the afternoon, the action moved to the other end of the parking lot for the afternoon portion. Covered tables were set up and food continued to be made and sold while Daniel Wasson provided live acoustic music for the evening. In addition to the evening’s entertainment was a 50/50 raffle and an “Anything on Wheels” Cruise-In.
Jeffrey Yarnell, a close friend of England’s and the organizer for the benefit, was thrilled with the outcome. The benefit was chiefly to raise enough money to purchase the supplies to finish remodeling the England’s home. The required amount to achieve that goal was $4,000. Yarnell happily reported that the benefit raised $6,805, with the remainder going directly to the England family to cover living expenses and medical bills.
When asked how he felt about raising so much over the original goal, Yarnell said, “It blew my mind. At the beginning of the day, with the weather, I was expecting to get about half that. It’s just amazing to see that many people come out to support someone they don’t even know. We had people donating $150 to $200 for one sandwich.”
Yarnell and the others involved in putting on the benefit wish to extend a huge, heartfelt thanks to Rural King for the use of their parking lot and everyone who came out to support the England family. Shane’s wife, Gretchen, also expressed her gratitude to the community via social media.
“When I called Shane to tell him the final numbers, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I was on speakerphone when I called and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. It’s just fantastic,” Yarnell said.
The work on the England’s home will be completed free of charge by the Wednesday Crew from Ramps to Freedom, a Thrive Alliance program. Anyone still wishing to donate to the England family may do so at any Mainsource Bank location using the account of Jeffrey Yarnell/Gretchen England.
More photos from this event are available in an online gallery at www.greensburgdailynews.smugmug.com.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004