My wife, Kaitlin and I both grew up in Franklin, and when we got older and got married, we both knew that we wanted to stay here in this community. One of the biggest reasons that we knew that we wanted to stay in Franklin, was the wonderful closeness of friends, families, and neighbors. We had both grown up our whole lives, seeing communities come together to support one another, and neighbors helping neighbors. It instilled in both of us a sense of how to be kind, generous, and uplifting to those less fortunate, or in need, and it’s something that we will never forget.
Never did we expect, however, that the day would come that we would be the ones on the receiving end of that same kindness and generosity. A couple of months ago, I had a very unexpected, completely unforeseen medical emergency that very nearly cost me my life. Emergency surgery saved me, but then I started on the road to recovery. The overwhelming generosity was evident immediately, as donations of food and money to help with the bills started coming in. My wife was spending her every moment caring for me, and the food was a tremendous help, but we were still worried about our medical bills, especially considering the work that we were both missing.
Then, the miracle began. Some of our friends got together and planned a benefit for us. People from all over Western North Carolina were showing up to give us their support. Local businesses were donating goods and services, friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers were opening their hearts to us, and generously donating to help us cover our medical costs. The benefit was a complete success. The money that was raised that day is helping/will help us more than anyone will ever know, and we appreciate it more than we can ever say. We never knew how many friends we had, or how many people loved us and cared about us until we really needed them, and then they came out of the woodwork. I have never before felt so much love, and so much generosity from so many people. I just wanted to write this letter to let everyone who was involved with our benefit, know that we thank you, and we love you. We can never express our gratitude fully, and we only hope that we can one day “pay it forward,” and help someone else who is in need. So again, thank you to all of the local businesses and individuals involved. We consider you all friends and family, and we love you all very, very much.
Brandon M. McMahan — Franklin, N.C.