ARTHUR — It was clear in just one hour: locals come out en masse when it comes to supporting one another.
Hundreds poured into the Arthur Christian School Saturday to eat, auction, listen to some music and most importantly give to the Larry and Ruby Schrock family, whose home was destroyed by an explosion, taking the life of their son and severely injuring their 16-year-old daughter.
"I think a lot of people were here not for what they can get but what they can give," said Glen Rhodes, a pastor at Arthur Mennonite Church involved with running the event.
The benefit drew in $33,958 for the Larry and Ruby Schrock family, $10,200 of which was raised in the first hour, according to organizers.
Also, there were some items from the silent auction that were not picked up by the successful bidders. Assuming the owners of those items do come and pay for the items, that would add an additional $450 approximately, said Sharon Buckler, an organizer for the benefit.
Expenses from the benefit, which should not exceed $1,000, will come out of the proceeds.
There was not a specific goal set for the benefit. At the end of the day, the goal was simply to "bless this family," Rhodes said.
"However much is raised will be great toward assisting the family," Rhoads said. "It was just a way for the community to reach out to this family and show our love and care for them."
The benefit, organized by local church leaders and other community members, was centered on providing some financial support for the family, a family said to be humbled by the event.
"To see the community together, in the way that it has, has meant so much to them," said Delmar Schrock, Larry's first cousin. "They can't talk about the support they get from the community without getting emotional."
Larry and Ruby were not present at the benefit.
"It would be emotionally tough for them to handle seeing the community come out in this way," Delmar said. "During visits with them at the hospital, it is emotionally tough for them to talk about the support they get from their community."
Delmar said it was more flattering than surprising to see an outpouring of people come to support his cousin's family. Speaking from personal experience as someone whose family has benefitted from community support before, Delmar explained it just what those in the area do.
"It is a reflection of the community," Delmar said. "We have numerous benefits for families in need in this community, and they are all very well-attended."
Those that did not attend the benefit and wish to donate to the family can do so by contacting the Arthur Community Bank, through which a fund has been set up in the family's name.
As previously reported in the JG-TC, preliminary investigations by local fire crews suggested the explosion was the result of a propane leak. Firefighters have learned that occupants of the house had tried to fix the propane leak earlier in the evening but they could still smell the odor of propane afterward.
Jared L. Schrock, 20, who lived in the home with his Amish family, died in the explosion and Larry and Ruby's 16-year-old daughter, Janeva Schrock, sustained critical injuries.
Currently, Janeva is in recovery at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital, a transitional rehabilitation pediatric hospital in St. Louis. She was moved from the Springfield Memorial Medical Center.
The extent of her injuries are severe to the point where "it is going to be like starting over," Delmar said.
Organizers indicated Janeva is smiling, though.
The family is in the process of rebuilding on the site of what once their house. Organizers said the family lost most everything in the explosion.