CULVER — Culver’s Rob Reinhold may have summed up the enormity of Saturday’s benefit for his family in describing the event: “Overwhelming.”
Family members, friends, and attendees in general would concur, though the question lingers as to what was more overwhelming: the incredible community turnout or the amount of money raised. In both cases, the numbers are — well, overwhelming.
Co-organizer Larry Brockey says at least 500 to 600 people came and went between 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday at Mystic Hills Golf Course, where two buildings were engaged to hold the standing-room-only crowd. Bearing in mind that more than 800 people paid $20 to attend ($10 for children), in addition to drinks bought and silent auction items paid for, the dollar amount raised is still staggering, at more than $32,000. And, says Larry’s wife, Dawn, the other primary organizer of the event, they’re still not done counting.
As reported recently, Reinhold was diagnosed a little over a year ago with ALS, perhaps better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In the months since, he has become confined to a wheelchair and increasingly lost muscle function. Culver Elementary 6th grade daughter Reilly increased awareness locally of the disease through a service project at the school, which focused the Brockeys’ attention on helping gather the community — and the Reinholds’ friends in surrounding areas — around the family in support, particularly financial, but no less personal, physical, and spiritual.
“The support and love have been unbelievable,” said Rob’s wife Rhonda, as the event wound to a close Saturday. And referring to the Brockeys, she added, “None of it would have happened without them.
“We were just amazed,” Rhonda continued. “Everybody asked why we moved back to Culver, and this is it. This town has just embraced us. We couldn’t get through this without everyone. The church (Wesley United Methodist, where the family attends), the school, my work (the IU hospital in Knox), Rob’s (South Bend-based pipefitter’s) Union, our friends — it’s amazing.”
As they were prior to the event, theBrockeys are dismissive of their role in the proceedings.
“We just said we would do it,” Larry said. “We didn’t have to beg — people asked what they could do. We had more people asking to help today than we could even use. And a lot of people have done things at (the Reinholds’) home that people don’t even know about.”
“It just takes your breath away,” adds Dawn, noting almost 100 percent of food and items were donated. In fact, she says, only $100 of the many donated funds had to be used towards purchase of anything to make the afternoon happen, a staggering feat in light of the sheer volume of food, items, and space — and that’s not to mention the talents of local guitarist and songwriter Chad Van Herk, and band Reunion Station, both of whom donated their time.
The great diversity of attendees was also remarkable, notes Dawn, who reiterates once again Culver as “an incredible and amazing community.”
Rhonda Reinhold acknowledged turnout for the event surpassed everyone’s expectations, adding, “I’ve never felt this much love in my life. It’s a gift.”