Fundraiser for Matt Lope, of Dillon, brings community together
If you go
What: Benefit concert and silent auction for Matt Lope
When: 3:30-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12
Where: Dillon Amphitheatre
Cost: Admission is free; 100 percent of sales from food and drink and the silent auction will go to the Matt Lope Medical Fund
More information: Randall McKinnon, Nancy Cook, Amy & The Rock Sisters and Keith Synnestved will perform; silent auction includes items donated by Dillon Farmers Market vendors and local businesses. To learn more about the fundraiser, email Ruth Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Lope, a town of Dillon employee, was critically injured recently when the car he was riding in was rear-ended. A benefit concert and silent auction will be held on Friday, Sept. 12, at the Dillon Amphitheatre to help offset Lope’s medical expenses.
Lope manages the Dillon Farmers Market, and many of the items in the silent auction were donated by market vendors who have nothing but kind things to say about the man whose job is “to listen to people complain,” said Ruth Carroll, a landscape and wildlife photographer who has a booth at the market.
“If there’s anything ever going on at the market that we don’t like, everybody tells Matt about it,” the Silverthorne artist said. “If the music’s too loud or we don’t like the vendor next to (us) or this guy is driving the wrong direction — he tries to please as many people as possible and still be fair to everybody.”
“He tries to give us as much support as vendors as he possibly can, and he tries to deal with every complaint. He puts his head down, gets the job done, deals with the complaints, and he’s just a sweet kid.”
EVERYONE LOVES MATT
Carroll said the concert and silent auction are a way to show Lope how much all of the farmers market vendors, and others in the community, appreciate what he does for them, the town of Dillon and the county.
“If the market wasn’t run as well as it is, people wouldn’t show up,” Carroll said. “So we know it’s a fine balance that Matt tries to keep between keeping individual vendors happy and keeping the market professional and running smoothly, to be there whenever we have a complaint or a need.”
Nanci Campbell, of Dillon, also has a booth at the Dillon Farmers Market, where she sells handmade items such as jewelry, photography and textile arts with two other artists under the title Tres Whimsey Gals. Campbell said if you talk to any vendor at the market, he or she would confirm that Lope is “just terrific.”
“They are so fond of Matt and so appreciative of the way he manages the market,” she said. “Many of the vendors do multiple markets throughout the year, Vail or Minturn or Leadville, and they say he’s the best manager they have that they work with.”
Campbell said Lope is a fine young man who works hard, is very personable and takes care of people.
“As ridiculous as we vendors at the farmers market can be, I’ve never seen him get nasty with anybody or even short, and he tries to accommodate what you want and need, just a good guy all around,” she said.
Before the couple moved from Dillon to Frisco a few months ago, Pam Polak and her husband, Mark, were neighbors with Lope.
“He’s just such a nice guy, bubbly, friendly,” said Pam Polak, who also knew Lope through owning a small business in Dillon, Dillon Hair Design. “He’s the type of person if he sees you he runs up and gives you a hug. Everybody likes him, he always has a smile on his face — just a really upbeat person.”
SILENT AUCTION, MUSIC
Pam Polak has been in charge of collecting items for the silent auction portion of the fundraiser. She said donations range from a nice log sofa table donated by The Cabin Collection in Breckenridge to 4FRNT Skis donated by Charter Sports in Breckenridge, where Lope works during the winter months.
“Most of the donations came from the vendors at the farmers market because that’s what Matt worked,” she said, “but we’ve also gotten local people to give things, too. We have quite a few restaurant gift certificates and food items, quite a bit of jewelry, a steel art fire pit from Fire on Demand — that’s pretty cool — a lot of artwork, photography, a really good variety. I’m pretty impressed by how people just came out and gave so much.”
In total, Pam Polak said, there are at least 80 items that will be put up for auction, with more expected to arrive Thursday and Friday. Carroll said she and her husband have made a financial donation to the medical fund and also will be donating a 16-by-20-inch photographic framed canvas titled “Sunset Over the Gore.”
“I’m just so heartened by the support we have received for this,” Carroll said. “People are not even blinking, they aren’t thinking twice. My husband went to a bible study a week ago, and he said, ‘I just wanted to let you guys know I want to put Matt on your prayer list,’ and within five minutes, there was $100 laying on the table for the medical fund.
“They’re people who don’t even know him but because there are people who do know him and love him who are spreading the word on this, the way it’s all coming together is incredible.”
Arapahoe Café, Pug Ryan’s Brewing Co. and Lost Cajun restaurants have all donated food from barbecue to gumbo for the event, meaning 100 percent of the money from food sales will go to the medical fund, and Pepsi and Tommyknocker Brewery, in Idaho Springs, have donated cases of soda and bottled water.
“I don’t want to mention one person,” Campbell said about the donations. “I can’t believe it; every local place that I’ve gone to and other people have gone to, they were, ‘Oh, yeah, what can we do?’ As grumpy as I get with this community sometimes, I’m just inspired by this. He’s in need, he’s one of us that’s hurt, and we’re going to take care of him.”
Local musicians have also signed on for the concert portion of the evening, including Randall McKinnon, Nancy Cook, Keith Synnestved and Amy & The Rock Sisters. McKinnon said he got a call from a few folks at the farmers market and signed on as soon as he knew he’d be available.
“We get asked as entertainers frequently to do this kind of stuff,” McKinnon said, adding that the town of Dillon is providing the sound equipment to further defray costs. “If I’m available to do it, I generally say yes. It’s not a real noble motive, but this is my community and this is where I live.”
Amy Mathesius, of Amy & The Rock Sisters, said she also got a phone call from organizers to participate and will be performing at the event with her daughter, Nicole Granati. Mathesius has been a musical guest at the Dillon Farmers Market and said she loves it.
“I love performing outdoors up here in the summer,” Mathesius said. “I’m a very big farmers market fan, so I’m there whether I’m performing or not, and the first thing I do is park by the music and see who’s playing and I love supporting it — the market, the music, the town of Dillon, how they do such a nice event every Friday.”
Lope’s accident left him with extensive injuries, including 19 broken ribs, and he was placed in a medically induced coma, from which he emerged early last week. Pam Polak said her and her husband visited Lope on Saturday, and his condition is improving day by day. Other friends reported that he was able to take three or four steps on Thursday afternoon, though he’s still in a lot of pain.
“He seems more mentally alert,” Pam Polak said. “He’s been texting my husband and I, so we get little updates from him. What’s amazing is last week when we saw him, on Saturday, he had a lot of pain, he was on some pretty heavy pain meds, but he still had a really good attitude and was so excited that my husband and I came down to see him. He’s so grateful that so many people were concerned about his well-being.”
Organizers are hoping for good weather and a good turnout for the fundraiser to help Lope with his medical costs.
“This is a terrible thing to happen to him, and it’s not his fault,” Campbell said. “We’ve put it together, and now we need people to come and open their hearts and their pocketbooks.”
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