I couldn’t be more proud of my community. In the time we’ve lived here, I’ve seen towns in Stillwater County come together to help one of their own time and time again. Most recently, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have stepped forward to help the Caleb Overhuls family. You see in February, five year old Columbus resident, Caleb Overhuls was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Doctors predict Caleb will have a three year treatment plan in his journey to beat Leukemia. Much of that treatment will take place ten hours from home at Denver Children’s Hopsital. The cost of travel, staying away from home and lost work is financially overwhelming to the family and has inspired so many to help.
One of the most amazing parts of Caleb’s story to me are the people who have stepped forward seemingly once a week or so out of the goodness of their own heart to help this sweet boy and his family financially and emotionally. Some know the family well as Caleb’s Dad Stacey grew up in Columbus in a large family with 8 children. But others know the family casually, some, not at all. They are simply moved to help because of Caleb’s story and their willingness to help out in a tight knit community. They are simply good people.
The ideas for fundraising and follow through these Angels have had are incredible. Stacey’s sister Marci and sister-in-law Janet led the charge with a Go fund me account that is currently about half-way to their goal of $20,000. Donations have come from all over, including former students of CHS who were students when Candi, Caleb’s Mom was a teacher’s aide when they were in high school. A fund was also set up at First Interstate Bank for people to donate locally and many have! Traci Osborne a local day care provider started Cougars for Caleb, gathering over 20 Columbus businesses to sponsor t-shirts that she has sold with all profits going to the family. The high school basketball team wore the shirts as their warm-up shirts during the Divisional Basketball tournament, getting a mention on the both news stations sports casts. The Beartooth Beanery donated a large portion of their sales one Friday. A yard sale, coin jars at local businesses, profits from a pampered chef party, walking sticks made by a local artist and sold at Eagles Nest Floral, a car was loaned to the family by the owner of Bob Smith motors (who Stacey recently did work for). Just last night, Mary Kuehn and Charlotte Van Oosten along with other Volunteers from the Congregational Church made homemade pizza and had a pizza party, with all donations going to the family. Many have contributed behind the scenes in countless ways. Can you see why I’m overwhelmed with this generosity?!?
Not to be overlooked are the non-profit organizations who have stepped forward with generous donations. Project Hope, Cassie’s Gifts of Love, and Full Moon Car club to name a few of our local organizations. Ronald McDonald House has been such a blessing for their housing. Keep these organizations in mind when making your end of the year donations, they help so many!
Owners of the Big Fat Lunch Box, (a local food truck)Milo and Suzi Solomon, happen to be related to the Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky. They scored Caleb, Stacey and Candi box seats to a Nuggets game and the chance for Caleb to sit court-side during warm-ups and meet Rocky in person. What a memory maker during a tough time!
I’m blessed to get to live and work here. If you are from a small Montana town, I bet this same type of scenario has occurred in your community. That’s the thing about Montana, it truly is The Last Best Place.
Jill Exner, Broker
Parks Real Estate