When a cold front moved in and an unexpected winter storm hit the Tyler County area on Feb. 9, those who had organized a huge benefit for friend and neighbor, Randy Ash, to be held that day, believed their attempts had been in vain. After all their hard work and time, they felt the inclement weather would hamper their efforts to raise much needed funds for Ash and his family.
"We were so worried," said Linda Kile, one of the organizers of the benefit held at the Log Building at the Tyler County Fairgrounds. "We had to go ahead with it regardless. We had so many donations for the silent auction and raffles, all the food was prepared, it was just too late to make any changes. We just figured nobody would show up and we'd have a lot left over and not make near as much money as we had hoped we would."
But Kile and "Team Randy" were more than pleasantly surprised when people did indeed show up. In fact, throughout the day, volunteers served more than 200 dinners and the auction and raffles were very successful.
Despite the sudden storm that hit the local area on the morning of Feb. 9, the benefit dinner/silent auction for Randy Ash was a success. The dinner was well attended, the auction items raised much needed funds, and donations continue to come in. Organizers of the event extend their appreciation to all to supported the cause.
"It was great," Kile said. "People really came out and supported this benefit, and we are so very grateful. We just can't say enough about the wonderful businesses and individuals here that donated items, money, and their time to support this fund raiser for Randy. For everything everyone did to support us, we really, really appreciate it."
The benefit was held for 25-year-old Randy Ash who was tragically injured in a hunting accident on Nov. 29 and has been a patient at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown since that date. Having spent more than two months in the ICU, he recently was "stepped down" from that unit and continues the slow progress of healing, still at the hospital. With several surgeries behind him, Ash still has a long hard road of recovery ahead of him. Funds from the benefit dinner, and other organized fund raisers will go towards assisting Ash and his family during his healing and recovery process.
"Everyone has been so generous and supportive," Kile said. "Businesses not only donated items, but also helped us sell raffle tickets on a handmade bed handcrafted by Eric Mason, which was also donated. Also, several people who couldn't make it out to the dinner have called still wanting to donate. It's been amazing."
"But this is the way our community is. We all work together to help each other out when we know there is a need. Again, we just want to thank everyone for their support and their prayers for Randy's continued progress."
Other than the benefit dinner, Randy's friends and family have set up several other ongoing fund raisers. Information on these fund raisers, as well as updates on Randy's condition, can be found on their Facebook page "Prayers for Randy Ash".
Cards and letters for well wishes are very welcome at all times and can be sent directly to "Randy Ash at Ruby Memorial Hospital, 1 Medical Center Dr., 8th Floor, Bed 24, Morgantown WV, 26506". Monetary donations are also accepted at a special account set up at the Long Reach Credit Union in Middlebourne.
For more information on how to support one or more of the fundraisers held by Ash's family and friends, contact Linda Kile at 304-771-9024; Billie Zimmerman at 304-337-8302; or Patty Baker.