By Chris Wright, The News On 6
SALINA, OKLAHOMA -- A small Green Country town has rallied around a family coping with tragedy.
The Monk brothers lost their father two years ago, and earlier this month, their mother passed away. But their hometown of Salina refuses to let them endure their loss alone.
Much of the community of Salina crowded into the middle school cafeteria for a bean supper and auction, all benefiting the Monk boys.
"It's awesome. The community's really pulled together. It means the world to me and the boys," said Leroy Monk.
Leroy Monk, 19, is now the head of the household. The role was forced on him after his mother Karen died of a heart attack several weeks ago.
The boys also lost their father Curtis in 2008, also to a heart attack.
"Leroy wants to keep the family together," Joanie Gaskins said. "He's been their dad since their dad passed away. He's taken care of the boys."
In order to make sure that's possible, Joanie Gaskins and other Salina teachers organized the event.
People contributed all sorts of items for the auction. Ten thousand dollars have been raised at other fundraisers, and the teachers hoped to match that total Tuesday.
They say the turnout speaks volumes about Salina.
"Our town's amazing," Gaskins said. "Our town is a wonderful town. They call us the little town on the other side of the dike, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
The support won't end with the fundraisers. Members of the community say they'll be keeping a close eye on the Monks.
"There's a lot of people that's going to look out for them, make sure they stay on the straight and narrow, make sure they continue to be what Curtis and Karen want them to be," Tony Thomas, Salina Superintendent, said.
The attention and fundraisers are fine with the boys. After the outpouring of support, they have no plans to leave Salina anytime soon.
Chris Wright, The News On 6: "Do you ever want to live anywhere else?"
Leroy Monk, Salina resident: "No sir, never. Never move from here."
The next benefit, a team calf-roping event, will take place Saturday, October 2, 2010, at 11 a.m. at Holloway Arena in Salina.