An Arbor Vitae couple and their three young children who lost their home to a fire Nov. 18 have members of the community and surrounding area going to bat for them.
Gary and Nikki Engels are owners of the Leadership Academy.
“They’re huge in the community, Gary and Nikki both,” Michelle Van Meter, an Arbor Vitae firefighter said in a story published in the Nov. 22 edition of The Lakeland Times. “They do a lot for the community and they need some help.”
Nikki’s father, Randy Trapp, is a member of the Arbor Vitae Fire Department, something that makes this loss hit that much closer to home for the fire department’s members.
Family member Lois Trapp has gone as far as to organize a benefit for the family Dec. 14 at the Woodruff town hall.
The benefit is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Of Gary and Nikki Engels, Trapp said “they give a lot.”
“Maybe the community can give them something ... we’re a small town and I think we should try to help one another if we can,” she said.
As of Thursday, Nov. 21, the family was staying in a local hotel paid for by their insurance company but were in need of a rental home.
A spaghetti dinner is the benefit’s centerpiece. Cost for the dinner is $10 per plate and children under five years old eat free.
There will be auction and raffle items at the benefit, and among the items being raffled are two tickets to see the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field Dec. 22.
Local artist Bob Metropulos, holding an art sale at the AmericInn the same day, is donating 25 percent of the proceeds from that sale to the Engels benefit.
Santa is also scheduled to make an appearance at the benefit from 6-6:30 p.m.
Activities will also include a cake walk.
Brian Jopek may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.