Neighbors supporting neighbors

Published 8:00 am Friday, June 15, 2018

Local woman hosting fundraiser to support family of mudslide victim

SALUDA — While the scars of last month’s Pacolet Valley mudslides still linger — as does the pain of those impacted by the disasters — locals will have a chance this weekend to make a positive difference in the life of a local man who lost his wife and home during the storms.

Saluda’s Amanda Dellinger is organizing a barbecue dinner and cake auction fundraiser on Saturday for Tryon’s Leon Case, whose wife, Patricia, died after their home on U.S. 176 was struck by a mudslide during the torrential rainfall that crippled portions of western Polk County on May 18.

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The fundraiser will be from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Saluda Fire & Rescue Department, 199 Walnut St., Saluda, with the cake auction from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets will cost $8 for adults and $4 for children — the dinner will consist of pulled pork, bread, baked beans, slaw, banana pudding and a drink.

Dellinger, who works as a dental hygienist at Hendersonville Family Dental, is organizing the fundraiser along with her co-worker, Lauren Leclaire. Both women are longtime friends of the Case family who could not help but spring into action to help Leon after learning about the loss of his wife and the destruction of their home in the storm last month.

“I cried, and prayed for them,” Dellinger said about her thoughts upon hearing about Patricia’s death. “I couldn’t imagine losing my mama like that, where one moment she is here, and the next, she’s gone.”

While talking to Leah Case Morrison, one of Leon and Patricia’s daughters, Dellinger learned that the couple’s insurance policy would not cover the loss of the home, she said.

“[Leon] has literally lost everything,” Dellinger said.

Instead of asking for donations, Dellinger and Leclaire decided to put together a dinner and cake auction to help raise money to help Leon get back on his feet.

Almost immediately, several local restaurants came forward to help the women with food for the fundraiser, including Saluda’s Green River BBQ, Georgiana’s Java Joint and Whistle Stop Pizza and Wings, as well as Fletcher’s Chrome Side Grill & Bakery. Meanwhile, local residents have stepped up to donate cakes for auction, while others have volunteered to help serve or to provide other tasks for the fundraiser, Dellinger said.

For the Saluda woman, witnessing the local community rally behind one of their own in need has been heartwarming — especially as she was the recipient of such generosity herself last year, when she and her husband’s daughter, Charlotte, was born prematurely and required a 79-day stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mission Hospital in Asheville, Dellinger said. During that time, the Saluda community hosted a fundraiser to support the Dellinger family, with churches the woman had never known of before placing her family on their prayer lists, she said.

“Everyone is behind everyone here,” Dellinger said. “When something bad happens to one of us, the rest of us all step up to help.”