By MICHAEL-SHAWN DUGARWhen Sharol Schmidt and her family started a GoFundMe account following the decimation of her family’s property in May, she was sure at least a few people would be willing to contribute.
Schmidt said the fire that raged through her family’s Lewiston farm on May 9 was caused by the overheating of a light bulb in a heater inside a tenant’s chicken coop. There were no human casualties in the fire, which destroyed several buildings and houses, but some animals were killed. She had no idea just how much the community would rally around and support her family, which has had the property since Schmidt’s father bought it years ago and ran it as a dairy farm.
It began with the GoFundMe account, which generated $3,000, triple the amount she hoped for in order to cover the costs of cleanup.
“I am blown away,” Schmidt said of the money they’ve raised thus far. “I did not even imagine that people would want to come together and want to help my family raise even enough to help us rebuild, not just cleanup. We’re so appreciative.”
After a successful benefit concert in June at Canters Inn that raised approximately $4,000, the family is hopeful the second benefit concert Friday night at Hogan’s Place in Clarkston will get them to their primary goal of $10,000 to build a barn to store their animal feed.
Reports indicate the overall damage totals roughly $300,000, though Schmidt and her family believe it may be more. The focus as of right now, however, is the $10,000, and if the community support continues at this pace, it appears they should have no issue reaching that goal.
“Everybody is busy, everybody has their own lives, everybody has their own problems, and a lot of people I’ve never met contributed something, whether it was for the live auction or playing music at the show or just showing up at the auction and buying things and bidding,” Schmidt said. “It’s amazing — I never would’ve expected it. It’s so cool to see that people feel for you and care for you when something bad happens.”
But it’s not a complete surprise people are willing to lend a helping hand or a dollar. The Schmidt family is well known and active in the community, including working with the 4-H program, which in some cases means offering farm space for some of the children to keep their animals in the summer.
“I feel like we’re good people and other good people love to help good people out,” Schmidt said.
Coordinating the concert Friday night is Kyle Tostenrude, who will perform under the stage name Fucanelli, referring to the 19th century charlatan, author of “Mystery of the Cathedrals” and an individual who attempted to become a man of many trades but ultimately ended up being a man of mystery.
“I guess I’m him now,” Tostenrude said, laughing.
Tostenrude has been performing locally for about three years now, both solo and with the post-rock, electric band Our Roots Are Eternal, which he’s been with for nearly a year.
“I’m gonna sing and play guitar,” Tostenrude said of his upcoming performance Friday. “I’ll probably have our drummer, Tyler, drum on a few songs, and then I have my iPad that has four-track recording kind of stuff like synthesizers and loopers that I’m going to mess around with.”
Local alternative rock band Jack’s Smirking Revenge will also take the stage Friday night for what Tostenrude and Schmidt agree will likely be the final benefit concert for the family because as Schmidt said, “we can’t just keep asking.”
Combine the success of the event, the popular location of the Friday show and of course the music, and Tostenrude feels the concert at Hogan’s should be a success.
“I think it’ll go pretty well,” he said. “There’s always going to be that hope that a (bunch) of people show up, but I’m pretty sure a good amount will come.”
IF YOU GO
What: Schmidt Family Farm Benefit Concert featuring Jack’s Smirking Revenge and Fulcanelli
Where: Hogan’s Place, 906 Sixth St., Clarkston
When: 10 p.m. Friday
Cost: $5 at door, ages 21 and older