The Carousel 4-H Club in northwest Michigan lost a member and friend when Christa, 14, died in a traffic accident, along with her father, Dave. In response, the 16 member group did what they do best. They raised Ginger, a pig, in Christa’s memory, to help fund an education for Noelle, Christa’s surviving sister, also a club member. They hoped to raise $5,000.
Club member Courtney, 14, wrote a letter to Bob, a Traverse City businessman. Last year Bob had purchased the pig Courtney raised because she donated those funds to wounded warriors. Courtney, whose best friend was Christa, alerted Bob to this year’s project. Courtney simply saw Bob as a generous executive, successful in oil and gas exploration. She didn’t know how her letter would affect him.
Courtney’s letter, Bob says, “struck a chord.” When Bob was 9, his father was killed in a car accident. His mom, a homemaker, took over her husband’s job as township treasurer. Making $1600 a year, and receiving some social security benefits, she kept her family of 9 children going. “The barber gave us free haircuts,” he says. “The grocer gave us dented cans. While we never had much, we had enough thanks to the generosity of others.”
After receiving Courtney’s letter, Bob started making calls. By the time of the auction, Bob says, “I was pretty sure we’d get the pig.”
Ginger, a red pig, was given Christa’s nickname. (Christa had red hair.) Ginger was the last animal to be auctioned.
Once the bidding began, most people in the packed arena were in tears. Their average action price for a pig had been about $3.50 per pound. But, bids for the 288 lb. animal kept climbing and settled at a record $71 a pound. Other donors made additional pledges. In all, 17 donors contributed. Ginger brought in $31,998.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Bob said. “I hope it will help lift the load.”
(Photo of the 4-H club by Heidi Misser. Used with permission.)