SYCAMORE – On the anniversary of a fundraiser they call absolutely overwhelming, the Ranken family visited Culver’s of Sycamore for dinner.
In April 2013, the restaurant hosted a fundraiser for the family of Matthew Ranken, the Sycamore 11-year-old killed in a car accident Feb. 27, 2013. Larry Ranken wanted to raise enough to purchase a concrete bench for Rotary Park – a favorite place for Matthew and his brother, Aaron, to fish.
“Anytime I couldn’t find the boys, that’s where they were – fishing in the pond there,” said Matthew’s mother, Tonda Ranken.
Both Tonda and Larry Ranken choke back tears of gratitude at the outpouring of community support last April.
“We moved here 15 years ago,” Larry Ranken said. “This is an unbelievable community. It was simply amazing.”
Larry’s sister, Donna Ranken, said they wanted to come back for dinner to thank Amanda Corona, owner of Culver’s of Sycamore.
“I knew it would be great,” Corona said, “but I had no idea it would be that amazing.”
Another sister, Kathy Tyner, showed pictures of the crowd waiting to order standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
“The community came together to show so much love for our family,” Tyner said. “People came from all over; people we hadn’t seen for years.”
Larry Ranken’s mother, Jan Kennedy, was impressed with the Culver’s staff.
“A lot of the kids that work here worked all day and into the night,” Kennedy said.
Their hard work paid off with a total donation of $12,846.03 – about $9,600 or half of the proceeds from the day-long event and the rest from a donation bucket on the counter.
Although some customers had to wait as long as two hours just to order, Corona said no one complained.
Another relative, and one of the organizers of the event, Jen Crouch said a few people said they couldn’t wait to order, but they donated anyway.
“It was the coolest thing ever,” Crouch said.
“It was just overwhelming,” Tonda Ranken said. “Matthew touched so many more people than I ever imagined.”