We’d like to say thank you to a community so full of love for their neighbors that you may feel like skimming right over this, because you’re so used to reading about these types of events in our town. But we all may need a few reminders.
By now you’re probably aware of the Pletzkes, the Rockford family who has endured a rough road the last several years. Randy and Mary Jo Pletzke have five children who are so close to one another that it brings tears to your eyes to watch them interact. Their youngest, Spencer, 12, was diagnosed at three years old with a rare seizure disorder and has been hospitalized over 50 times. Their second oldest, Kyle, was severely injured while serving our country in Afghanistan and is still receiving intensive rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland. Their oldest son, Brett, set aside his emerging career for the last eight months, without hesitation, in order to be at Kyle’s side during his long road to recovery. “He’d have done the same for me,” is all Brett will say when asked about his sacrifice. All of the Pletzke children, including their two teenage daughters, know what it means to be selfless. This is a “given” in a family raising a child with special needs. Now, add two parents who you will never hear complain, even though they’d have every right to, and you have one of the most amazing families in Rockford. This is just a little background, so that you may better understand the caliber of people you so generously helped at last Saturday’s benefit.
Please remember that Rockford is not your average community! It is not average or normal for a business owner like Cory Brown at Rockford Lanes to care so much about a struggling family that he’d put last weekend’s benefit into motion for them, and then be willing to give thousands of dollars and put many hours into making it happen. It’s not normal that when he went to John Vanaman, general manager at the Corner Bar, and asked if he’d help, that John would say yes without hesitation, and that he’d donate food for an entire day of bowlers at Rockford Lanes, along with many hours of his time as well. It’s not normal for a group of people, all very busy with their own lives, and many who don’t even know the family well, to work to pull this together. It’s not normal for so many people, all of YOU, to come out of the woodwork to support this family, and share your time, talent and treasure the way you did on Saturday.
The businesses and individuals who donated are bombarded daily with requests to give, like we all are, yet they gave without batting an eye. Many of the small Rockford businesses that we approached overwhelmed us with their quick and generous donations. Whether it amounted to $20 donations or $2000, we were truly honored to be a part of such a generous community. Many donated without being asked, and some didn’t even know the family. One caring donor gave all the cash she had in her purse!
While it may seem normal to all of us who live here in Rockford, this kind of love, concern and generosity is very unique. Don’t take this “Rockford Way” for granted. The Pletzkes certainly don’t. They are always the first to offer help to any struggling family they come across. On behalf of the Pletzke family, as well as the committee, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and ask you to remember how very blessed you are to live in Rockford.
If you’d still like to make a donation to help the Pletzkes, you can drop it off to Cory at Rockford Lanes. Checks can be made out to United Way-Pletzke Family.