SYCAMORE – Larry Ranken and his family want to build a bench next to the pond near their home where his sons, Matthew and Aaron, used to fish.
Ranken, father of 11-year-old Matthew Ranken, hopes to build this bench with the various donations his family has received since the Feb. 27 crash that killed Matthew and injured 18-year-old passenger, Teale Noble. The community support has overwhelmed the family.
“It’s the reason we would never leave Sycamore,” Ranken said.
The most significant amount of donations came from a benefit held at Culver’s of Sycamore last week.
From the time the restaurant opened its doors at 10:30 a.m. to the last customer’s departure at 10 p.m., the Ranken family greeted more than 3,000 friends, family and community members.
The restaurant processed 1,402 transactions that day, producing more than $19,000 in sales – half of which went directly to the Ranken family.
Jennifer Crouch, one of Matthew’s cousins, worked with Becky Rust and Karlee Rogers to coordinate the Culver’s fundraiser, which had some customers waiting almost two hours for food.
“It was pretty amazing,” Crouch said. “I’d never really experienced something like that before.”
When Crouch approached Culver’s of Sycamore owner, Amanda Corona, through a mutual friend, she said Corona was more than happy to help out.
Matthew’s brother, Nick Weber, 21, who also was in the crash and suffered minor injuries, is a former employee of Culver’s of Sycamore, which is one of the reasons Crouch said Corona wanted to get involved.
Crouch said the general fundraising policy for Culver’s is to hold an event for a few hours and donate 10 percent of the proceeds.
But when Corona took the idea to the Culver’s corporate office, they wanted to take it a step further, she said.
Both Crouch and Ranken said the Sycamore community’s outpouring of support for the families has been overwhelming, which makes the city one of a kind.
“I don’t think it would happen in a lot of towns,” Crouch said. “But Sycamore is just a really great town.”
Ranken said he and his family still are working out the details of how they will use the money raised. In addition to the bench, they are planning to donate some money to North Elementary, where Matthew was a student, and to the Sycamore Youth Football League, which was Matthew’s passion.
Ranken said he is deeply moved by the generosity he and his family have received from the community. “We just want to say thank you to everyone who came out and supported Matthew,” he said.
There also will be a fundraiser for Noble, who has been released from the hospital but still is recovering from injuries. The bowling event and auction will be from 6 to 9 p.m. April 27 at Four Seasons Sports, 1745 DeKalb Ave., in Sycamore.
Admission is $15 at the door for adults and $10 for children and students, which includes a round of bowling, shoes and appetizers. Live music will be provided by local bands. Community members can register early to be entered into a special raffle.
To make a monetary or auction donation or volunteer at the event, contact Sheri Prutton at 815-981-0528, firstname.lastname@example.org or search “Teale Noble Fundraiser” on Facebook.
If you go
What: Fundraiser for Teale Noble
When: Saturday, April 27
Where: Four Seasons Sports, 1745 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore
Admission: $15 adults, $10 children and students
Register early to be entered into an exclusive raffle