A benefit held for a local man struggling with cancer drew in hundreds of guests at the high school on Saturday.
Robert Richardson has been fighting cancer for almost four years. According to Susan Banks, one of Robert’s many acquaintances, his loved ones had considered throwing a benefit for a long time, but put it off hoping he would recover.
Still fighting the disease, Richardson was unable to attend the benefit.
When Robert’s family and friends joined forces to throw a benefit, help poured in from the community.
“I knew Ashe County was a good place to live, but I’ve never experienced such compassion from a community,” said Mary Osborne, Robert’s sister.
Along with hundreds of individuals, several groups also got involved with the benefit, like the local hospice and several church groups.
“It’s like one big family,” said Osborne.
During the benefit, held in the high school’s cafeteria, guests passed through the school’s lunch line to receive spaghetti dinners at $6 per plate.
At one point, the line filled with people awaiting their dinners stretched through the cafeteria, around the commons area, and was backed up all the way to the school’s main entrance.
According to Osborne, the large turnout demonstrates how connected Robert is to the community. Robert is an avid trader, but more than that, he built relationships with people whenever the opportunity presented itself.
“I’m sure a lot of this is Ashe County being Ashe County, but part of it is his deep relationships with other people,” said Osborne.
Robert’s wife Patricia also knows several members of the community through her job at Leviton.
In addition to the dinners, several musical groups connected to the family, like Rock Bottom, performed during an auction free of charge to help raise money. The musical performances and auction were held in the school’s auditorium.
Osborne said this massive effort was coordinated by Banks, with help from several of Robert’s family and friends.
According to Osborne, the family got permission to hold the benefit at the high school from Martha Turner, who is over the county school’s cafeterias.