Friends, family, co-workers and community members came together Sunday to hold a benefit in Coaldale for the victims of last month's fire in McAdoo that claimed the life of 7-year old Madison "Maddie" Arner.
Benefit organizers Kelly Gott, Kayla Kerstetter and Tiara Gott, who are all employees at Pappy's Mini Mart in Coaldale, said that they have been longtime friends with Madison's father, John "Jack" Arner. John works off and on at Peter J. Radocha and Sons Inc., which is located adjacent to the mini mart and where the benefit event was held. They added that the event raised over $3,000.
A number of activities were held to raise funds for the family, such as a dunk tank, chinese auction, face painting and so on.
"We had an awesome turnout," said Kelly Gott and Tiara Gott, who both work as managers at the mini mart. "So many great people came together to volunteer and help support our benefit."
"Also a big thank you goes out to everyone involved in the event," said Kelly Gott. Some names given were DJ Thad Hager, all Pappy's Mini Mart employees, Joey Kilpatrick, Stephanie Chapman, Richelle Coombe, Tony Radocha, Dwayne Green, Kendall Redline, John Arner, Jonathan Oakes, Coaldale Fire Company and many others. Appreciations were also given to Michael, Pete and Heidi Radocha. "Jack has been a good friend of our family for over 30 years," said Heidi.
"Maddie would have loved this," said Kerstetter. "Proceeds of the benefit will go towards the Arner family and help pay for funeral costs. Any leftover funds will go towards fire prevention programs at area elementary schools."
During the benefit John Arner and his girlfriend Wendy Hollar released bundles of balloons into the air while a top the Coaldale Fire Company's aerial truck.