Torrential downpours failed to dampen the spirit of the hundreds of well-wishers who turned out to help Terry Neese in his time of deepest need.
It all unfolded July 20 in the Oxbow Saloon during a benefit to help Neese with the medical expenses incurred following a stroke he suffered on April 17.
During the benefit, which included live music, a barbecue, raffles and games, the skies opened up and rain fell for most of the early afternoon, eventually flooding the Oxbow.
“There were some rain delays, but eventually we got everything in,” said event organizer Lani Kenney. “It was a complete success thanks to all those businesses, organizations and individuals who stepped up to help out.
“The Oxbow was packed inside and out.”
Kenney also praised the campfire cooks, Clayton Randall, Roy Haught and Albert Hunt, who continued undaunted to prepare the traditional cowboy meal of barbecue beef, beans and rolls.
“They stayed out the whole time in the rain,” said Kenney.
Even the band there to provide the music, Moonshine Mafia, was impervious to the downpours continuing to provide their usual high energy shows highlighted by crowd interaction.
Since Kenney first organized the benefit at the onset of the summer, benefactors hawked 300 raffle tickets at $100 each that had as a prize a 2013 Polaris Ranger side-by-side valued at more than $16,000.
Lynn and Mary Little eventually drove away in the UTV as the winning ticket holder in the reverse raffle.
“I think he (Lynn) was a little shocked,” said Kenney.
Neese, a graduate of Payson High with the class of 1995, was originally hospitalized in Phoenix Good Samaritan Hospital but is now undergoing rehabilitation treatments in Payson and was able to attend the benefit.
Neese is well known in the Rim Country, having attended Payson Schools his entire student life and because he worked for the Town of Payson Street Department from 1998 to 2007.
After resigning his position with the Town of Payson, Neese founded his own business — Round Valley Processing, which processes wild game, beef and pork.
Neese and his wife Sundi (Haught), whom he met in 1995 and married in 2000, have a daughter, Rylinn, 12, and son, Braden, 7.
Kenney describes Neese as a “Man with a huge heart who loves to help people out.”