By Kyle Cushman, Correspondent
When tragedy strikes and local people are in need, the community of Belton is like no other when it comes to supporting and helping your neighbor. On Saturday, July 29, that support was displayed for the Oliver family.
The heartbreaking loss of Kaitlyn Oliver and her father, Patrick Oliver, has moved many people to help in their time of need. A fundraising benefit was held at The Gin in Belton in honor of Patrick and Kaitlyn. Festivities included: live music, a snow cone stand, a bounce house, a silent auction and local businesses giving a portion of their proceeds to help the family bear the financial burden. Travis Brewer coordinated many of the details.
“All of the musicians are playing for free today,” said Brewer. “Some of the local musicians performing were Dakota Ochoa and Jordan Valentin. Other musicians who could not come today let us borrow some of their sound equipment. Centex Moon Walk donated the bounce house. We just felt called to do this. We pulled together to make this happen, and we’re more than grateful to help.”
Chelsea Vasquez, owner of College Fund Concessions Snow Cones, sold snow cones at the benefit.
“When Travis asked if we could help, we thought we would do whatever we can,” Vasquez said. “All of our profits on snow cone sales today will be given to the Oliver family.”
Kristy Luttrell also helped coordinate the benefit.
“The Gin let us use their space today. About 10 auction [items] have been donated including T-shirts, CD’s and gift certificates to local establishments. The community has really come together, “Said Luttrell. “We have a silent auction, and the highest bidder on each prize as of 6:30 p.m. will win. The family is here today. Patrick’s mother is here and his wife is here.” Reflecting on how the tragedy affected her, Kristy said, “The day after it happened, I could see Temple Lake Park from the boat. The park was closed and it was so quiet. There were no kids, no boats, only two police cars in the entire park. Everyone’s life changed that day. It’s sad, but something so tragic has caused people to want to help.”
Some of the local businesses who donated their time and resources were China Café, Familia Ink Tattoo Company and Alladin Car Wash. The Gin at Nolan Creek, Coronas De Oro and Scores Pizza all gave 10 percent of their proceeds to the cause. Scores Pizza collected $2 donations in exchange for “Team Oliver” koozies.
“Whatever we can do as a community to help the family, we’re going to do it,” Derek Ladd of Scores Pizza said.