If there is a precise definition and example of true generosity, caring and community support, the fundraising event this past Saturday initiated by the owner and employees of The Manchester Team at Keller Williams Realty would be it.
|Manchester, Brackley-Moody, Russell, Anderson|
Over 300 people turned out at Smitty’s Cinema, 795 Roosevelt Trail in Windham on January 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help raise funds for the families of Dennis Brackley, Gavin and Alexa Goad, Adrian King and Samantha-Jo Brink.
Brackely, age 65, and his grandson, Gavin, age 4, both passed away as a result of a car accident that occurred on January 13, 2017 on Route 202 in New Gloucester. Alexa Goad, Adrian King and Samantha-Jo Brink, survivors, were hospitalized and are still facing extraordinary challenges as a result of the collision.
“This was an idea we came up with just eight days ago,” Brad Knowles, director of sales with The Manchester Team, stated. “Within this short time, the community has come together, including area businesses who have donated over 140 auction items, to help the four families in need.”
One of the businesses includes The Manchester Team itself, who reserved two theaters and paid for theater tickets for all attendees to see the movie Sing. The Team, who worked tirelessly for the past week to make the fundraising effort a success, included not only Knowles but Cathy Manchester - owner, as well as agents and administrative staff that are comprised of: Chris Anderson, Martha Russell, Rebecca Hatch, Jon Gomez, Sue Fleck, Taylor Candage, Patrick Matheson (and his wife Kate), Jennifer Visscher (and husband Doug), Kate Manchester-Betzer and James Betzer. The Team was also assisted by Melanie Craig, and Leni Grant and her daughter.
Another remarkable element of the fundraising success was the number of individuals who arrived at the theater on a sunny Saturday morning to support the event. Individuals included, not only family and friends of the victims, but people who did not know the families personally and were seeking a way to be of some service.
|Over 140 auction items donated|
“I don’t know the families of this horrible accident,” an attendee stated, and did not wish to be identified. “I just wanted to help in some way. I feel like what I’m doing isn’t much, but hopefully coming together, like we are today, will benefit the families in some way and ease some of their financial burden.”
One person who was able to make the event was the sister of Dennis Brackley. “I have been amazed at the outpouring of love we have received from the community,” Vickie Brackley-Moody said, holding back tears. “Even from people who do not know us. It truly astonishes me and I’m very grateful to all who have reached out to us.”
The silent auction that began at 11 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. was open to everyone, not just to those who stayed to watch Sing. The winners were announced after the movie had ended. Those who were not present were contacted.
“Although monies are still coming in, we have raised $4,600 so far,” Manchester stated. "We'd like to thank Smitty's Cinema and Courtney Taylor, Director of Marketing and Sales, for helping us get this organized in such a narrow window; for graciously donating popcorn and soda, and for attending the event to be sure it came off without a hitch. Additionally, we'd like to thank all of the individuals and businesses that donated auction items. Without their generosity and support, the silent auction would not have existed. And finally, we'd like to thank the community for turning out as they did and supporting these families."
Funds raised from this event will help cover funeral and medical expenses for the families.
To donate additional funds, visit the website: www.gofundme.com/windham_crash_victims_fund. Checks or money orders can be sent to: Community Fundraiser, c/o The Manchester Team of Keller Williams Realty, 19 Main Street, Gray, Maine, 04039.