I recently did a story on a local woman who has lyme disease and how she'll be going to a clinic in Florida to get better treatment. The article told her story and also talked about a benefit that was going to be held for her. That benefit was this past weekend.
Through the use of this newspaper's website and our Facebook page, I noticed that the story was getting a lot of attention. The story was even shared in The News Eagle, which helped it branch out past Wayne County.
I already knew from past experience that when an event like that is going on, people start coming together. I expected no different for this benefit, but was still awestruck when I walked into the White Mills Fire Hall Saturday night.
I just couldn't believe it! The building was packed. So packed, in fact, it was pretty hard to move around from one part of the hall to another. There weren't even any seats left and people were standing (or even went outside) just to eat food. It wasn't even an annoyance to do so.
It was just amazing to see how many showed up to support Jen Rickert Brownell. I have to admit I was almost in tears.
What happened throughout the course of the night wasn't something that really bothered me, but was something that I felt I didn't deserve.
People were coming up to me and saying thanks for doing the article and how nice they felt it turned out, even Jen's parents. Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate the gratitude that people shared and I'm glad that the article was liked, but I'm not really the one that should be thanked.
All I did was write an article. All I did was help spread the word. The ones who really deserve the thanks and praise are those individuals who helped put the event together, including Jen's family.
From the planning, to getting prizes donated, to getting food prepared, even down to those who were helping sell tickets. They are the ones who made this all happen. They are the ones who started the success of this benefit.
That success was completed thanks to everyone who came out to support Jen.
So, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for their hard work and dedication. Without them, this event wouldn't have happened and it wouldn't have been as successful as it was.
It was one of those nights where you saw that people really do care and remembered that not everyone is out to bring harm to others. There were tons of prizes given away, including multiple cash prizes. The cash prizes alone totaled several thousand dollars.
Page 2 of 2 - Want to know what makes that even more special? Every single person who won a cash prize donated the money right back to the benefit. Not a single person took home money for themselves. They showed that money isn't everything, that there are those who need it more than them, and put someone else's needs ahead of their own. That is such an amazing thing.
I had several relatives who were helping out during the benefit, and my cousin Joe told me that when he was selling tickets, people would give extra money for $5 worth of tickets, and didn't want their change back. They wanted every bit to go back to the event. Again, that's an incredible thing.
The community really came together for Jen, and I know that every dollar raised is going to be a great help.
I also want to commend her parents, Bob and Deb, who really kept it together throughout the benefit. I'm sure it was pretty overwhelming for them to see the support from everyone and especially when even cash prizes were donated right back. Deb even told me people were there that she didn't even know. Bob said that the amount of people in attendance was even double the amount of tickets made.
I'm really happy for the Rickert and Brownell family that the event was so successful and will be a huge help with Jen's treatments in Florida.
We are all praying for you and hope you get better soon.
Waters is a staff writer for The Wayne Independent and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.