Last week, I had the privilege of participating in Books and Bricks – a fundraiser and book signing that benefitted the Custer Veterans Memorial. I walked into the event, unsure of what to expect, but hoping for a good turnout. And I left with a heart full of gratitude and community pride.
I think I speak for all who attended, in saying that gatherings like this, remind us that there is still good in the world – and how lucky we are to live in a small community, surrounded by good people. The media has been a constant barrage of tragedy, disaster and bad news, and the recent events in Las Vegas, left us all feeling like we’d been sucker-punched; right in the heart. Coming together provided support, not only for the memorial, and a couple of small town authors – but for each other. Applause filled the room, when Mayor, Corbin Herman, held up the book My Kind (of) America and addressed the crowd; thanking everyone for being there. “All of you here are a reminder of why this is my kind of America and why Custer is my kind of town.” He said.
This gathering of friends and community members, was hosted by Deb and Jim at Calamity Jane Winery. When I approached them, back in early September and asked if they’d be willing to participate, they responded with an enthusiastic YES. Jim only had one question, “What can we do to help?” Before I could answer, he had picked up his phone and was making a call. Deb and I turned to each other and chatted about buying a couple veggie trays and maybe … Jim laid down his phone and said, “Dakota BBQ is going to do the cooking.”
As plans progressed, Jim wholeheartedly volunteered to contact additional sponsors, and within days, a meal had been planned. Each time we spoke, he’d ask again, “What can we do to help?” And I felt like that was the question that I should have been asking him!
So, at the top of my list of thanks you’s – Jim and Deb, you are amazing and we appreciate you! Thank you so much for being generous hosts, contacting sponsors, providing beverages, helping with promotions and purchasing that awesome banner that hung outside your business. Custer is lucky to have you!
And thank you to the following businesses/individuals for helping us make this event possible:
Sysco Foods – food sponsor
Dakota BBQ – preparation of pulled pork for those amazing sandwiches.
Thank you, Elena for serving – you’re awesome!
Lynn’s Dakota Mart – buns, salads, plates & silverware
and big thanks to Sally, for volunteering your time to help serve.
Dutch Chips – potato chips
Cask & Cork – wine
LaMonte’s Auto Center – door prizes
Custer Chamber of Commerce – event promotion and use of sound system
Additionally, thank you to Custer Mayor, Corbin Herman, Custer Veterans Memorial President, Tony Gonsor, VFW Post 3442, and the Custer County Chronicle.
Thank you, Duane Martinz (author/speaker DuaneMartinz.com) for donating book sale proceeds to the memorial fund.
Saving the best for last, to all who attended – thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you for being there, for buying books and for your kind and generous donations. Because of you, we ended the night with $900 cash – all of which was donated to the memorial fund.
The people of Custer are proof that small towns can do big things – and the Veterans Memorial is a big thing. With ongoing support and contributions of businesses and individuals, it will be not only a tribute to our veterans, but a reflection of our patriotism and community pride. If you’d like to learn more about the memorial or sponsor a brick, visit: https://polarengraving.com/custerveteransmemorial