Sunday, December 26, 2010

Keith Smith benefit - February 5th

For years Keith Smith, the owner of Keith’s Service and Towing, as well as The Don’s Pizza in Greenville has been one of Santa’s little helper’s spreading Christmas cheer to those both young and old. However, the thought of Christmas this year has this Santa only hoping he can unwrap an answer to his battle with brain cancer as friends quickly plan various fundraisers to benefit this Santa in need.

On the very same day he turned age 54, Smith was taken to the hospital only to learn of a cancerous mass on his brain. After being diagnosed on November 3rd, Smith soon learned from a team of oncologists that his cancer had progressed to stage 4 of the diseasing process. While learning this, Smith also learned the grim news that the health insurance he thought he had was simply an insurance discount card, and truly not a coverage plan that would cover the costs of his much needed treatments. Despite his battle, Smith isn’t giving up hope and continues to manage the day to day operations of his two businesses while undergoing continuous testing and preparing for treatments.

“He continues to be very hands-on in overseeing the operations of his two businesses,” said Lisa Francis, spokeswoman for the Keith Smith Benefit committee. “He has a great group of employees who are standing behind him and doing everything they can to ensure he continues to give the same great service people have come to know and trust.”

But it isn’t just Smith’s employees who have stepped up to the plate. A multitude of friends and supporters from throughout the county has come together as one to plan various fundraisers to aid this long-time Darke County resident in his immediate time of need.

“We’re opening our hearts and minds to a man who has been a strong supporter of all of us for so many years,” said Francis. “This is a man who over the years has given so much to his community and now we have an opportunity to give back to him.”

Francis said hands-free car wash vouchers will available from the Greenville Car Wash located across from the Darke County Fairgrounds at 1017 Sweitzer St., Greenville, as of January 2, 2011. The cost of the voucher is $10 to purchase a Deluxe Car Wash which normally runs $12 per wash. Greenville Car Wash owners John and Stephanie Baumgardner are donating 100 percent of the car wash proceeds from the sale of these vouchers to the Keith Smith Benefit Fund which has been established through Greenville Federal Bank.

“People haven’t even thought twice about helping us. Keith is a well known and respected man in our community and the need for our help is now,” Francis said.

Car wash vouchers can be purchased from any member of the Keith Smith Benefit committee or by stopping by one of the following south town Greenville businesses: Chicken Kitchen II, 102 Birt Street; Eikenberry’s, 1120 Sweitzer Street; Fairlawn Steakhouse, 925 Sweitzer Street; Farmers State Bank and Trust, 1107 Sweitzer Street; Hansbarger Appliances, Electronics and Mattresses, 1127 Sweitzer Street; or Spirit Medical Transport, LLC, 5484 Ohio Route 49 South.

Organizers say the support of this venture, now in its third week of planning, is quickly gaining overwhelming momentum as it tugs on the heart strings of many.

“Each week we have more and more people interested in helping,” explained Francis. “We’ve established a benefit fund for him and now we’re planning a benefit dinner.”

Those wishing to make cash contributions can stop by one of the two Greenville Federal Bank locations – the main office at the corner of Russ Road and Wagner Avenue with banking hours at 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday; and 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday; or at their branch location located inside Kroger at 200 Lease Avenue, Greenville, with extended hours which include 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday – Friday; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Those having questions about the account can contact Jason Byers at the Kroger branch location.

Francis said tickets for a February 5th chicken noodle benefit dinner to be held at the Greenville VFW Hall, 219 N. Ohio Street, Greenville, will also be available after January 2, 2011. The dinner will be served by the Greenville Masonic Lodge Craft committee between 6 and 8 p.m. with a multitude of other activities to be held during and after the dinner.

Carry-out dinners will be available. Francis said just a few of the many activities planned for the evening include a 50/50 drawing, jail and bail, live auction with donated items from local individuals and businesses, miscellaneous door prizes, live music and karaoke, and character drawings by local cartoonist Paul Ackley. Tickets will be a minimum donation of $10. Anyone wishing to donate an item for the auction or a door prize can either contact a committee member for the item to be picked up or drop off the item at Buckeye Beverage, 647 Wagner Avenue, Greenville.

Those wishing to obtain more information about the various events planned to aid in off-setting the costs of Smith’s mounting medical expenses may contact any of the following committee members including: Lisa Francis at 937-548-5098 or 937-459-0731; Morrisa Reed at 937-548-4150 ext. 290 or 937-548-4914; Kim Knick at 937-548-3399 or 937-547-9465; or Jodi Byers at 423-7237 or 937-548-3399.

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