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Shepherdstown turned out in full force for Mason Ellsworth benefit

By Staff | Jul 30, 2010

Saturday, July 24 at the Train Station something special happened from 3 to 6 pm. A community came out to celebrate and help a young man, Mason Ellsworth, and his family. This was a benefit to buy a wheel chair van for Mason. Counting crowds is an art and a math problem but two to three hundred would be a statistically safe guess. But in crowd counting who do you count, the family, the musicians who played, volunteers and then there are good timing well wishing supporters.

There was a lot to love about the music a beautiful piece called “The Mission” that was soulfully played, Concerto for two violins that highlighted the genetic musical talent of the Ellsworth family. All the musicians were more than skilled, they were gifted, and generous with their time and heart. The food was fresh, plentiful and easy on the pallet. In short an Ellsworth event. The gathering had a point, the day was too hot but the focus brought people out in spite of the 95 + temperatures. The anti-perspirant must have flowed in preparation for the sweating bodies in such close contact.

My volunteer post was at a table in front of the Train Station, the collector of the money, a perfect spot to receive the generous outpouring of money and care. Generosity is a matter of perspective. There were children who gathered their change whether in bulging pockets or in little plastic bags and adults with folded bill from $100 to everywhere in between. The money flowed from pockets and purses through my hands to the little wooden box that grew along with my regard for everyone.

The Ellsworth family is a pro at putting together an event but they were obviously touched by the crowd and the group mood. The high pointafterthe music was Mason himself arriving in his yet to be paid for van that the crowd wasthere to help buy. They knew for Mason it was freedom. A long two year journey from death’s door to van door. The car door opened and the ramp brought him in contact with the ground and the group, he moved with the power of the motorized chair operated by his own hand. This wasa culminating giant step preceded by 1000’s of mini steps. Progress measured one infinitesimal muscle movement at a time. The crowd was fed by him and his courageous family and he and his family were fed by the crowd.

After he arrived and went inside, his chariot van awaited him outside. The little wooden box grew even fuller till it had to be pushed down to close. Young and old came emptied their pockets and even left an IOU to get a piece of Mason’s artwork. The pictures and postcards were priced for the people at $5, 10, 15 and 20. Even without the artwork I think people went home taking with them a piece of Mason. As I stuffed the money into a large envelope for the family, cleaned up my post and started to leave I felt overwhelmed with the emotions of the day, the music, the family, the people, the generosity, Mason’s art which through color and paper communicated his intact spirit and now the van, his new freedom. It was quite a day.

Kathy Berkley