Local non-profit group Contractors for a Cause is teaming up with a Dagsboro family to raise money to fight Parkinson’s disease.
The Williams family reached out to the organization with the hope of co-hosting an event at their family farm, and the event will be held there on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 3 to 9 p.m. The BYOB event costs $20 per person, and includes food, games, music and more.
“They’ll have some beef, pork and chicken — all barbecue-style. They’ll have some salads — potato salad, macaroni salad — baked beans,” said Ted Stephens, owner of Morning Star Construction and a member of Contractors for a Cause.
“It’s basically a big cookout. We’ll have three or four sets of horseshoes, three or four sets of cornhole. I believe they’re going to have a moon bounce or something similar for the kids. We’re also going to have a tractor so we can do a hayride for the kids.”
There will also be a 50-50 raffle and auction, as well as a bonfire later in the evening.
Stephens made a point to thank event sponsors including Coastal Tented Events, Just Hooked and Shone Lumber for their support.
“It’s going to be a great time,” he said.
The Mayo Clinic defines Parkinson’s disease as a “progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand.”
A local masonry contractor, Frank Williams reached out to Stephens to help host the event, as his mother, Ann, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
“Frank had a big family reunion last year and invited a bunch of friends, too,” recalled Stephens. “This year, he said, instead of having a family reunion this year, he’d like to raise some money and awareness for Parkinson’s. He came to me knowing I was with Contractors. I spoke to the board at one of our meetings, and everybody was all over it.”
Stephens said that Parkinson’s is a hereditary disease, and as a result, Ann’s brother is also battling the disease.
“They’re just an average family,” Stephens said.
While Contractors is unsure of what organization will receive the funds raised on Oct. 14, they have been researching the best organization to support, while also aiming to keep the money local.
“We want to keep it local. We want to keep it right here.”
In 2014, the patriarch of the Williams family, Joe, passed away. Before he passed, Contractors was able to do work for him as well.
“Their dad was a crotchety old man, but he loved them dearly. He would do anything for any one of them,” said Stephens. “Contractors helped his father out with some stuff right before he died. There were some projects that he had started on his house that he never finished. Contractors came in and we got a lot of people to help out, and finished everything. It was very, very wonderful, because he got to see everything finished.”
Now with Ann Williams battling Parkinson’s, Stephens said he knew he wanted to help the family again.
“One of the big things that has been heart-wrenching for me is Joe was a big gardener. That’s how I became friends with him… and Ann was right in there with him,” he said, noting she canned and made food with fresh vegetables and fruits. “Now, it’s not as easy… She does try to do some things, but it’s not like she was doing it before.”
One arm of Contractors for a Cause is Helping Hands, which offers disadvantaged community members free services and professional advice in the field of home construction, maintenance and repair, which is the element of Contractors that helped Joe Williams.
“We’re even getting calls from Johns Hopkins, that they have somebody who was in some traumatic accident or something happened to them, they’re getting ready to send them home and they need a handicapped ramp for accessibility built into their house,” said, Stephens who is the program’s director.
“We’ve replaced roofs, some heaters for people… Just about anything, because we have both contractors and suppliers in pretty much every facet of the construction business.”
Stephens said he first got involved in the organization after his fellow contractors told him about what they were doing.
“I enjoy giving back, being able to do things for people,” he said. “I think the area is very lucky to have a group like this. There’s a lot of people who need help.”
The organization is always looking for additional contractors to join up and support their community.
“We’re very happy and blessed that we have a community like we do, because they’re always willing to jump in and help, and we appreciate that very much.”
As for the fundraiser this Saturday, Stephens said he hopes many people will chose to attend, even if it’s just for an hour or two.
“We’re hoping people come out so it could blossom into something that could be a yearly event.”
The Williams family farm is located at 31174 Gray Road, Dagsboro. Tickets may be purchased at Morning Star Construction by calling (302) 539-0791, Miranda & Hardt at (302) 539-8048, Miken Builders at (302) 537-4444, and Garth Enterprises at (302) 537-2823. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.contractorsforacause.org.
By Maria Counts