Big turnout at benefit for Erica Jennings family
Photos by Tom Rivers
MEDINA – Nicole Porter, center, and Katie Zimmerman, both of Oakfield, serve chicken barbecue dinners today during a benefit for Erica Jennings and her family. Erica’s mother-in-law, Tracy, is in back. They were part of a volunteer crew that served 440 dinners before they were all sold out.
Today’s benefit was at the Sacred Heart Club in Medina.
Erica Jennings holds her daughter, Elle. Her husband Thom is next to them. Erica was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December. She has had two extensive brain surgeries, and is undergoing radiation and chemo treatments at Roswell Park in Buffalo.
She and her husband are high school sweethearts from Albion. They have been together for 13 years. They walked across the stage together when they graduated from Brockport State College. Erica is a Spanish and English teacher at City Honors in Buffalo.
Thom said he and his wife appreciate the strong support from the family. They saw classmates and teachers today who they hadn’t seen in more than a decade.
“They’re all people we’ve known our entire lives,” he said. “They’re all our friends.”
Elle chases after a balloon held by her grandmother Angie Graham of Albion.
Dave Dewing, left, and Mike Zeliff flip some chicken halves outside Sacred Heart.
The benefit included 119 baskets to be raffled off.
In addition to the basket raffles, there were 19 big-ticket items and a silent auction, which included signed Buffalo Bills jerseys by Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas and All-Pro LeSean McCoy.
Thom’s father Thom Jennings is a music writer and musician with lots of connections with professional musicians and their promoters. Today’s benefit included signed music items from national artists such as Foreigner, Black Sabbath (with Ozzy Osbourne), Toto, Mountain, Todd Rundgren, The Black Keys and others.
John Dady and his daughter Mara sang several Irish tunes. Several musicians performed during the benefit, including Bruce Wojick & Jamie Holka, Josh Cogovan, The Triple Play Band, and Alona, Joey G, and Trellis Trio.
Elle is held by Trellis Pore, one of the musicians during today’s benefit. Elle charmed the crowd throughout the afternoon.