Debbie Trussell never knew what an impact one little conversation last fall would have on her life as well as the lives of many others.
Trussell’s husband, Jeff, had been hired as a contractor to help with Dirk and Ronda Ewing’s cabin. As Jeff headed to work one day, Debbie decided to tag along. While there, she mentioned her interest in a jogger stroller for her disabled son, Brennan. Unfortunately the type of jogger stroller Brennan would require to equip all of his medical needs was not a regular stroller but one that would cost thousands of dollars, a sum the family could not afford.
After listening to the plight of the family, Dirk Ewing mentioned he had a friend with a foundation that helps families obtain these special types of strollers. For the time being, Ewing kept his friends identity a secret.
In December, the Ewing family travelled to Branson, Miss., to attend their friend Collin Raye’s concert. Their daughter, Shaylee, decided to ask Collin if he would consider putting on a concert in behalf of Brennan. The Ewings consider Raye family and knew of his great love for handicapped children.
In 2010, Raye lost his first grandchild, 10-year-old Haley, to a neurological disorder. Throughout the years of caring for Haley, Raye experienced the worry, dread and fear many family members experience as they care for those with special needs.
Like many families of special needs children, Raye spent years researching treatments and talking to specialists, coming away with few if any answers. He learned “tremendous humility” as he saw his own helplessness without the grace of God. Most importantly, Raye learned what a joy it is to have such a special spirit, a “piece of God in your midst every day.”
Raye shared that helping children like Brennan is like getting Haley back for a small moment. Anyone watching Raye when Brennan or another special needs child comes into the room experiences something special. Laying aside whatever he is doing, he rushes to their side to give them kisses on their head and hold their little hands.
To him “it is a gift” as he finds “purity and peace” in holding their hands. Brennan’s sister Madie shared her feelings toward the performer, saying, “I have so much respect and love for Collin. He is the most down-to-earth guy I have ever met. I can tell just by how he looks at my brother that he has so much love and compassion for him and kids like him.”
It wasn’t always easy for Raye watching his granddaughter struggle. It was definitely a “faith tester,” but he soon realized that “only by the grace of God can we turn it into a positive.” With a deep spirituality, he understood, “God blesses us in so many different ways. It was a tremendous honor to be her caregiver.”
Wanting to give back to others in similar situations, Raye started the Haley Bell Blessed Chair Foundation in his granddaughter’s honor. Looking to bring relief and hope to those in need, the foundation provides specialized wheelchairs or other equipment to these special children, or as Raye would say, “perfect” children.
This meant the world to the Trussell family. They were gifted with a jogger stroller through the foundation, and also received funds as a result of the wonderful people who put on such a fabulous event.
Trussell shared that, “Everyone involved was so filled with love and generosity for our family, we were blown away! Collin is amazing and has the biggest heart. We have truly gained new lasting friendships with him and the whole Ewing family. Words cannot express our gratitude to any and all that helped put this event together, as well as all of those who donated, volunteered their time and talents, or just supported us by showing up.”
Monday night’s concert showcased not only Raye’s selfless service to the Trussell family, but also many others who gave of their time, talents and money. The evening began with a silent auction and people were very generous in their bids. A guitar signed by Collin Raye himself went for $1,000.
Several Morgan singers opened the show with inspiring songs from Lantern Lane, 2 Weeks Notice, and Chris Peterson, a Morgan native who drove all the way up from Cedar City just to be a part of the show.
During the show many were moved to the point of tears as a common thread of love and gratitude wove through the audience. As the night drew to a close, it was announced that over $33,000 had been raised for the Trussell family as well as the Haley Bell Blessed Chair Foundation.
Ronda Ewing was so grateful to be part of such an inspiring, entertaining event and was overwhelmed with gratitude with the support given. To put on an event like this takes many hands and she along with the Trussell’s would like to thank the sponsors: Young Ford; Perry Brothers; GNC of South Ogden; Geary Construction; Pretzelmaker; J’s Drive In; Parkside Lanes; Cambridge Financial Center; Calendar Systems Incorporated; Hind’s Quick Stop; Traverse Tours and Travel; Morgan Drug; Allred and Cannon; ATK; Karen’s Kreations; Desert Star Theatres; Mountain View Title & Escrow; Saunders Outdoor Advertising; Browning; Tina Cannon’s Group; Troy Weeks’ CSI Printing; Bingham Meats; Geneva Rock; Minky Couture and many of Ewing’s amazing clients.
Thanks also to the FBLA and service club, Mrs. Herbert, Mr. Kilmer, Matt Fairbanks and the local police as well as everyone who donated things for the auction or even came to the concert. Ewing shares that everyone was “so kind to jump in and help out with such generosity.”
Shaylee would especially like to thank Mr. Fuller for the countless hours he put into this night, whether it be working on the website, hanging up posters, or the many other things he did to make the night a success. He was so devoted to the FBLA kids as well as this cause. Shaylee beamed, “He doesn’t just go the extra mile, he goes the extra 100!”
Ewing has such gratitude for the hard work that put on such a great event, “Everyone and anyone who had a hand in this, thank you!”
Thank you Collin, thank you Ewing family and especially thank you, Brennan, for bringing our community together and showing us how amazing you are.