LE ROY — Le Roy is the epitome of what is good about small-town life.
Saturday morning the Le Roy Community Building will leap into action for an eight-hour come-and-go event to raise money for Brian True, 40, and his family.
True, a Le Roy native, has had back problems nearly half his life, recently severe enough that he had to leave his job at Mid-American Machine, a small industry on the east side of town.
He had two surgeries, 15 and three years ago, and now his insurance company is balking at paying for a third.
True said the procedure would cost about $100,000, an amount beyond his and wife Heather’s finances without insurance support. They filed an appeal with the company and asked the Kansas Insurance Commission office to take a look.
Meanwhile, when friends and neighbors learned of the Trues’ problems, they went about finding ways to help. Members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in nearby Aliceville, where the Trues worship, jumped aboard.
The Saturday event, in the works for several weeks, is the outcome. It kicks off at 11 a.m.
“WE’RE TOTALLY blown away by what people are doing for us,” said wife Heather.
“I’m still in shock,” said Brian.
While it would be presumptuous to expect the fundraiser to meet surgery costs, there are expenses the family has to deal with while waiting to find out if their insurance company will pull through. They were told the first appeal — they can pursue up to four — will take six weeks.
Brian has been out of work since Dec. 12 and short-term disability benefits have expired. Heather works with outpatient records at the Coffey County hospital in Burlington. She grew up an Iolan, the daughter of Dick and Marsha Burris.
When his back problems first surfaced, the cause was traced to herniated disks, which the “first operation 15 years ago helped a lot,” Brian said.
About three years ago debilitating pain became severe enough a second surgery was performed.
“They worked on every level of the lumbar,” after which “my back was never right and kept getting worse and worse,” Brian said.
More recently, fluid was injected into his spine to track problems. Doctors learned spinal fluid was leaking through disks and irritating nearby nerves, he said.
His surgeon advised the solution was to remove deteriorated disks, and tie that portion of his spine together through fusion and insertion of a rod. He was ready for the procedure when the insurance company balked, which led to the pending appeals.
Meanwhile, life goes on for the True family.
The Trues, who live a touch south of Le Roy, have three children. Dergan, 7, and Brett, 13, are at home and Paiton, 19, lives in Iola.
THE FUNDRAISER will have silent auctions offering “some pretty amazing things,” said one of many organizers, Brenda Ludolph.
With True being a hunter and many Le Roy area folks keen on the sport, several guns will be auctioned, including a Mossberg 20 gauge youth model, Ruger 10-22 rifle with a brick of shells, Savage 243, and Ruger LC380 handgun.
Tickets for this fall’s K-State vs. Kansas football game will be offered, along with other K-State football items, and two sets of four box seats for Kansas City Royals baseball games complete with parking passes.
Pulled pork sandwiches and sides will be served throughout the day. A number of local ladies have promised to do their best with desserts — a few may even go to lucky bidders.
The Le Roy car wash will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from which proceeds will benefit the Trues.
St. John’s, through Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, will match some of what is raised, with the exact amount to be announced later.