Tennessee distributor raises $7,500-plus to help customer with medical bills

When Independent distributor Matt Sledge heard what one of his customers, Daniel Victory, was dealing with, he wanted to help. Victory's wife, Keri, 28, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Sledge, owner of Tech's Choice in Murfreesburo, Tenn., talked with another local area business to discuss holding a benefit to help raise money to pay for medical bills.

The result was a fundraiser that attracted 350 people in July who received door prizes and food and got a chance to participate in an auction find numerous gifts.

"It was a joint venture between me and O’Reilly Auto Parts. The whole benefit started with me calling to talk to a previous employee that used to work with Daniel. He (the previous employee) got with his district manager and decided to take care of all the food – burgers, grills. Basically putting the event together. I told them I’d work with the vendors to get door prizes."

Sledge prepared flyers to promote the event, which was held at a public park. He passed out 500 flyers, mostly to people on his truck in the weeks prior to the event. He also posted information about it on Facebook.

The event lasted from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, July 30 and raised a total of $7,508.

"You want to talk about one of the most awesome guys you’d ever meet? It’s this guy. Anytime you need help with anything, he’s just a great, great dude, and this crap happened to him. When he broke down on my truck, that’s when it hit home," said Sledge.

Sledge received prizes and support from a number of vendors, including Knipex Tools, E-Z Red Co., Lang Tools, Sunex Tools, Astro Pneumatic, Durston/VIM Tools and Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. In addition to tool vendors, community businesses and individuals donated items to auction as well. 

"I also didn’t think as many women would get involved as they did. Some of the women from Keri’s church helped out. They brought haircutting, massage coupons, little baskets with candles, (and) $200 from Logans from gift certificates. A lot of people brought in donations the day of the event."

"It was a successful event. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., I distributed items," said Sledge. He also kept track of and submitted bids for his customers who couldn't attend the event. 

Sledge had expected about 500 people to attend the event, and to raise about $2,500. It was just the opposite: “Not as many people came, but twice the money was raised."