A consistent line of Fort Calhoun residents, students and classmates braved the Friday morning frigid air, offering freewill donations to "Doughnuts for Devon."
Fort Calhoun Elementary fourth grade student Devon Welchert was admitted to the Omaha Children's Hospital and Medical Center on Nov. 11 for endocarditis, a rare infection of the inner lining of the heart's chambers and valves.
"I coach him in basketball, so when I heard it, I thought, 'We need to do something,'" said Rance Johnson, who helped organize the fundraising event with his wife, Fort Calhoun Junior High social studies teacher, Karli Johnson.
From 7:08 a.m., when the first car arrived to the Fort Calhoun Presbyterian Church parking lot, to around 8 a.m. the Johnson's and several other volunteers handed out doughnuts from Jim and Connie's Blair Bakery to people donating over $1,100 total for Devon Taylor Quik Pik also donated juice and water and Scooter's donated coffee for the fundraiser, Rance said.
"We have a son that's in the same grade as Devon and has done football and basketball with him, so know, having a kid in the hospital for a couple weeks, any help we could give would be fantastic," said Karli.
Devon, who was also born with aortic stenosis, which is a narrowing of the aortic valve, was still in the hospital at the time of the fundraiser.
A Meal Train page also has been set up for Devon and his family, which includes mother, Sara, and siblings, Aaron and Lexi. Meal Train is a website that allows people to enter a date and time to deliver meals to those who may need support.
Those interested in donating can find Devon's Meal Train at mealtrain.com/trains/v97ko6. As of Friday afternoon, 13 meals had been donated.
While Fort Calhoun fourth grade student Bryson Kendrick grabbed a doughnut, Karli said it was "fantastic" that people were willing to come out in the cold to support Devon. She said she and Rance couldn't have held the fundraiser without the help of Cheryl Miller from the church and fellow fourth-grade student parents Anne and Lance Steinhausen.
"Rance said, 'Lets grab some doughnuts from Jim and Connie's,' and people will come," she said. "It's been fantastic, we've had a huge turn out."