Chili lunch, auctions benefit Robinson family in Gravette

GRAVETTE – Friends, neighbors, church members and family members have rallied around an area family in the wake of a devastating fire.

Sherman and Tenia Robinson lost their home and its contents Feb. 4 during a fire. The house was over 50% involved when firefighters arrived, and fire crews were not able to save the structure or to salvage any of the Robinsons’ possessions.

Members of the Centerton and Decatur fire departments assisted the Gravette Fire Department at the scene, and Gravette firefighters monitored the fire throughout the evening. Although the home, on Arkansas 59 south of Gravette, was lost, the Robinsons escaped without injury thanks to the assistance of a passerby who noticed the fire and stopped to help.

Both the Robinsons have health problems and feel fortunate to be alive. Although they have lost their material possessions, they agree they have much to be thankful for.

Among their many blessings is the response of area residents to the tragedy. Housing was arranged for the couple, cash donations were offered and needed medications lost in the fire were replaced.

A benefit auction was planned and organizers held the event recently at the Gravette Civic Center. Chili was made and donated by employees at Decatur Public Schools, where Sherman worked for many years, and diners came out to eat and bid on a variety of items.

Donations of merchandise were received and sold in a silent auction featuring smaller items, gift cards and baskets, and a live auction of quilts, furniture, glassware, home decor and other merchandise. Baked goods were a popular item, and a wide variety of pies, cakes, breads and rolls went home with the highest bidders. Organizers reported more than $ 15,000 was raised to assist the Robinsons with expenses.

Sherman and Tenia are now living with relatives while awaiting a decision about their future. Those not able to attend the auction or anyone who would like to contribute further may contact their daughter-in-law, Jennifer Robinson, at 479-531-4625.

photo Westside Eagle Observer / SUSAN HOLLAND Margo Thomas, (left) one of the organizers of the Robinson benefit, looks over the crowd at the Gravette Civic Center Saturday as the live auction begins. A chili lunch, silent auction and live auction were held to help the Robinson family with expenses after losing their home and its contents in a fire February 4. On the table is a carrot cake Thomas purchased at the auction.
photo Westside Eagle Observer / SUSAN HOLLAND Jim Jarvis and auctioneer Jed Harris stand behind a table of baked goods as Harris and volunteers take bids during the live auction at the Robinson family benefit Saturday at the Gravette Civic Center. A wide variety of baked goods was donated to sell with proceeds going to Sherman and Tenia Robinson who lost their home and its contents in a fire Feb. 4.
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