WILCOX — A live auction for the family of a Wilcox man who died in a farming accident brought in more than $200,000.
James “Jarad” Robinson, 39, died July 16 at CHI Health Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney from his injuries. Jarad and his wife, Lyndsay, have three sons. The community rallied together to organize a benefit barbecue and live and silent auction for Jarad’s family Aug. 5 at the Wilcox-Hildreth High School gym in Wilcox.
When word spread about the fundraiser, community members immediately jumped on board to help. Donations, from toys and pies to beef and pork and even a live heifer donated by Gardels Angus, poured in.
A few of the items were made or personalized to honor Jarad. Jeremy Hansen of Bertrand painted a large canvas featuring Jarad’s cowboy hat. Z Hanging Spur personalized an AR-15 rifle with Jarad’s brand engraved on one side, and the business’ logo of a cowboy featured a cowboy hat with a feather to honor Jarad.
More than 1,000 people attended the event.
“It was absolutely incredible for a town of 300 to have this much support,” said Mike Soneson, Wilcox Cornerstone Bank branch manager. “Jarad was very, very larger than life. He had a very larger-than-life personality. He loved everybody, and everybody loved him.”
Jarad’s younger brother, Cody Robinson, was expecting the benefit to bring in about $100,000. The live auction brought in about $230,000. Most of the items brought in well more than their worth, such as $10,000 for the yearling heifer and $8,000 for the rifle.
Cody said the family has been overwhelmed and grateful for the support it's received.
“It is what is getting us through,” Cody said. “You want to feel sorry for yourself, but you have all these people here to help.”
A Jarad Robinson Memorial Fund has been established at Cornerstone Bank, and donations are being accepted at any Cornerstone Bank location.
Seeing the community come together after Jarad’s death has been heartwarming, Soneson said.
“It was our first step for our whole community to heal from all this, because it was a tragedy,” he added.