Annual fundraiser aspires to help Bishop, Opp families

The Nicholas Beier Walnut Grove and Friends Benefit is to be one way to celebrate the weekend of July 4 by reaching out, giving back and helping families in need.

Sharon Hartman, treasurer of the annual benefit, said the fundraiser started 11 years ago when the Beier family, who were permanent campers at the campground, had a son, Nicholas, who needed extra medical care.

She said other campers decided to find a way to help the family with medical expenses, and the Nicholas Beier Walnut Grove and Friends Benefit was formed.

“I’m happy to report Nicholas is now a healthy little boy and is doing great,” she said.

Each year, she said, organizers have continued to help families with the financial burdens that result from costly medical treatment. The organizers, she said, mostly are permanent campers at Walnut Grove, and usually the group tries to find a family at the campground who needs help.

The last two years, she said, the campground has been blessed with health, and the benefit has searched beyond its borders for a family in need.

This year, she said, two children, a girl and a boy, have been chosen as beneficiaries. Each child, she said, has challenges, and both are students at the School of Opportunity.

The girl, Crissy Bishop, is a 6-year-old with “severe developmental delays in her brain and nervous system,” Hartman said.

She is able to walk but is unsteady, she said, and needs a considerable amount of assistance with everyday tasks.

Hartman said the boy, Konnor Opp, also is 6, and has septo-optic dysplasia. She said he is blind, non-verbal and unable to walk.

Benefit president Dea Jo Owens said Opp is in need of a wheelchair, which his insurance will not provide.

Given the emotional and financial burdens of caring for a child with special needs, the Walnut Grove benefit is directing its energy and efforts to raising money to help relieve the financial pressure on the Bishop and Opp families.

Hartman said preparations for this year’s benefit began last fall with the election of officers for the benefit group, and raffle tickets are being sold for the golf cart giveaway that is the highlight of fundraising activities.

Tickets are available from committee members and at the flea markets, she said, and are $10 each. The golf cart is a new E-Z-GO six-passenger street legal gas-powered model, and the drawing for the raffle winner is 9 p.m. July 5 at Walnut Grove.

Hartman said other fundraisers for the benefit include selling cozies and T-shirts, 50/50 drawings, raffles for theme baskets, a breakfast, euchre tournaments, auctions of items donated by local businesses and a golf cart poker run.

The majority of those events take place the weekend of July 4, she said.

The golf cart poker run is 9 a.m. July 5. The cost is $20 per cart,

she said, and $5 to play poker after the run.

An event that has been added this year is a motorcycle poker run, Hartman said, which will take place June 7. The inaugural event begins at noon, and numerous stops are planned along the designated route.

The pre-event cost of the motorcycle run is $15 for the first person,

and $5 for a rider. Same-day tickets are $20 for the first person, and $5 for a rider.

Registration will take place every Friday and Saturday at the campground May 2-June 6.

For additional information, call Walnut Grove at (419) 448-0914 or Sharon Hartman at (419) 937-8574.