Community Gathers to Show Support for One of Its Own

Community Gathers to Show
Support for One of Its Own

A group of Tom Steele’s friends visited him recently during his convalescence. Steele is a Charter Member of the Red Knights International
Firefighter Motorcycle Club, New York Chapter 44, Otsego County. (Photo by Ken Gracey)

“Tommy’s like part of our family. We inherited him with the campground over 30 years ago. He’s been cutting grass and splitting wood for us ever since,” said Juli Sharratt. Juli and husband, Dwaine, own Beaver Valley Campground, where a benefit for Hartwick resident Tom Steele was held on Saturday, October 8.

In late August, Steele was in a severe motorcycle accident and had to be airlifted to Albany Medical Center; he is now recuperating at a facility in Little Falls. It was the Sharratts’ daughter, Jamie Dobrovolc, who came up with the idea for the benefit.

“As soon as I posted the event on Facebook, people in the community reached out to me in a big way,” said Dubrovolc.
“Tickled Pink offered to attend with their bright pink food truck and donate all of the days’ profits, which totaled $1,060.00. All-In Cornhole pulled together a tournament held on our pool decks. Dennis Dibble said it was the driest place they could find! They brought in $310.00,” Jamie said.

Community members supported Steele by donating raffle items and baked goods or by showing up and participating in the days’ activities. Local businesses donated merchandise, gift certificates and services.

“Ten rounds of bingo later,” continued Jamie, “our final champion donated her winnings back to Tom! Our 75/25 raffle winner gave most of his winnings to Tom as well, which raised that raffle total to $562. My Mom and Dad donated sales of cabins, campsites and firewood. We pulled 63 different winners on Sunday and ultimately sold more than 2,800 raffle tickets.

“The greatest fund generator, raising over $3,000.00, was our ‘Tips for Tom’ jar, where Tommy’s community donated directly to him with nothing in return. Thank you to all who participated in some way. The benefit was a huge success!”

Juli added, “It was a fun way for the community to celebrate a great friend who has been given a second chance.”

Tom Steele still has several surgeries and months of physical rehabilitation ahead of him. Those who wish can contribute toward these expenses via GoFundMe.


One thought on “Community Gathers to Show Support for One of Its Own

  1. Edward Schneegas

    I went to school with Tom Steele. He is a frat friend. He will help any one out and he is a great guy. We are like brothers. The whole family is great. I’m in the Red Knights chapter 44. I’m a charter member. Bless you Tom and prayers and thoughts are going out to you yet. You got this Tom. So sorry you had to go through this.

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