When a medical emergency happens, finances should be the least of the affected’s concerns. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. That’s why a group of family and friends came together to organize a benefit for one Kite man, Brack Tanner. Held this past weekend, the Tanner Family can now worry a little less. The fundraiser accomplished its job to an impressive degree as hundreds packed the little old gymnasium in Kite and gave selflessly.
Savannah Tanner and Stephen Beasley began planning the event shortly after Brack, a 42-year-old Kite resident, was burned in an accident at Raysville Campground in Thomson in mid March. Forty percent of his body was burned, landing him in the ICU at Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. Brack’s hospitalization meant he would miss weeks of work as he underwent several surgeries and recovered. Meanwhile, his wife, Christy, was out of work as well to be by his side.
In an effort to help with Brack’s medical bills and to supplement the lost income, Savannah and Stephen worked to gather donations for an auction. Some of the goods up for grabs included 25 live auction items, including hunting trips, fishing trips, a handmade tailgate bench crafted by Swainsboro High School’s FFA chapter, and cakes.
The doors opened at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, and some 400 people showed up to support the mission. One 16-layer chocolate cake was sold 11 times, raising close to $4,400 alone.
As of Thursday, May 6, another prize handed out last weekend—a 20-quart Mammoth cooler filled with outdoor supplies like an electric filet knife, spin dandies, Satilla spins, a Midway Straw t-shirt, a straw hat, a cricket cage, a sunglasses strap, barbecue sauce from Hot Rod’s, lots of Avon mosquito spray, a five-pack of 00 buckshot, sinkers, fishing line, a Yeti tumbler, and a Brumate coozie—was donated back to “Bids for Brack,” the official name of the event, to be auctioned off again. Blowin’ Smoke BBQ then added two slabs of ribs to be cooked the Saturday of the winning bidder’s choice at a later date.
Rusty Lane, an experienced auctioneer, attended the event as a patron. On Saturday, he wrote on Facebook about the turnout, “Depending on which chart you look at, Johnson County is usually ranked in the top 10 poorest counties in Georgia. None of those statisticians saw what I saw last night! Folks, I’ve been involved in benefits and benefit auctions for over 20 years. I have never witnessed anything close to what I saw last night! The folks in this rural ‘poor’ county give more freely than I have witnessed. Nothing else is even close! If the best benefit auction I’ve ever been to was a 10, it’s now a six. Last night was a 10. This is a testimony to Brack and the entire Tanner family. I’ve never been more proud to be from poor rural Georgia.”
Chris “Nardie” Pinard acted as auctioneer for the night, and he recapped his take in the following way: “As most of you know, auctions are my pastime and my career. Behind the microphone is where I make a living and where I have fun. Every sale is different, but what always makes a good sale is an attentive crowd, along with good merchandise and an auction crew ready for business! Several weeks ago, I was asked to call bids for 20+ items at this event, and I gladly accepted. Little did I know that when I showed up, there would be a gym packed with people in support. I scrambled quickly to piece together a crew to help me catch bids. Rusty Lane and Todd Fortner were quick to jump in and help. None of us knew what was about to transpire, but with the help of these two men, I was able to call the best benefit auction that I’ve attended to date! The entire place was filled with good people willing to pitch in a few dollars, all while enjoying the fun of a live auction. We found out in no time that few were there to win the item up for sale as many donated the items back for resale. This was an awesome experience and one that I’m sure I may never top. I’ve said all this to say... Small town America is alive and vibrant! We may all be suffering in some way or another as our country recovers from the past year. When it matters most and one of our own is in need... Small, close-knit communities never fail to amaze me!”
Today, Brack is on the mend. He graduated out of intensive care this weekend, his wounds are healing well, he has started physical therapy, and he even began walking short distances this past Saturday. Christy, along with the rest of Brack’s family, is extremely grateful for the support. “This event was such a blessing. It was nothing short of amazing. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the support, donations, and prayers. We are blessed to be a part of a place with the compassion, love, and support our community has.”
In closing, the family asks if you feel led to do so, please continue to pray for Brack’s healing.