Community gives big show of support for Brayden Hoffmeister at benefit dinner, auction

Photos courtesy of Angela Coon: Diane McCauley watches Brayden Hoffmeister ham it up at the benefit for him Saturday. McCauley is a long-time family friend, former waitress at Rudy’s diner and baker. She was there to support the family, she said.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 May 2023 at 7:22 am

Brody Hoffmeister and his fiancée Jenna Pangrazio pose with their children, Alania and Brayden, at the benefit for Brayden Saturday at East Shelby Fire Hall.

EAST SHELBY – A benefit Saturday at East Shelby Fire Hall will go a long way in easing the burden for the family of Brayden Hoffmeister, 4-year-old son of Brody Hoffmeister and Jennifer Pangrazio. The couple owns Rudy’s Diner in Medina, and customers came out in full force to support the family.

Brayden was born with sagittal craniosynostosis, a condition where the skull joins together too early before the baby’s brain is fully formed. The condition is so rare, Brayden falls in the 1% category of children who need more than one surgery. Brayden has had two surgeries and has another scheduled in June.

Family friend Angie Coon organized the basket raffle and spaghetti dinner Saturday, and although they don’t know the final profit yet, it was very successful, she said.

“We are so grateful, we don’t know how to say thanks,” Pangrazio said.

Coon was overwhelmed by support for the event. East Shelby Fire Hall’s truck bay and dining room were full of donated prizes for the raffles. People filled the hall and the tables were full of people eating for a good part of the day.

“We sold 594 dinners,” Coon said. “I’m so thankful for the people who helped make this benefit a success – the ones who helped me organize it, the ones who worked yesterday, the fire department and auxiliary, all of the people who donated baskets, food and other things we needed to make this happen. Because of our community we were able to help ease the journey Brayden and his family have with his upcoming surgery and recovery.”

People were shelling out $20, and even $100s for raffle tickets. At 3 p.m. the dining room was nearly full of people eating spaghetti.

Pamela Durow said she came to the benefit because she has known the Hoffmeister family for years.

“I eat at Rudy’s two or three times a day,” she said. “They are great people.”

Alan and Patti Bushover, who live just down the road, came to support the family.

“These are wonderful people, and I’ve known them for a long time,” Patti said. “They are great for their community. Just look at the people here and the caliber of the prizes donated.”

There was an entire table of framed prints and paintings of Buffalo Bills, several rifles, a wishing well, large grill, baskets and buckets full of wine, lottery tickets, money and much, much more.

Lisa Jacobs was one of the volunteers who sold tickets. She used to work at Rudy’s and said the family were long-time friends.

Tables in the truck bay and social room at East Shelby Fire Hall were packed with items for the fundraiser to benefit the family of Brayden Hoffmeister, whose parents own Rudy’s Diner in Medina.

Some amazing prizes were donated for the benefit for Brayden Hoffmeister, including this wishing well, girl’s bicycle, framed prints and paintings of Buffalo Bills, a grill and rifles. Nearly 600 spaghetti dinners were also served.