The second annual Lloyd Jay Benefit will be held Saturday at Texas BBQ & Steakhouse in Killeen at 13178 State Highway 195.
As with last year’s benefit, the money raised will benefit two gravely ill children. One of those children is 13-month-old Sophia Bobe, daughter of Cove detective Ryan Bobe, and his wife, Elizabeth Bobe.
Sophia survived her twin brother ,who died in the hospital the day after he was born. She was given little chance to survive but is at home now and still fighting, said Cody Bennett, son of the late Lloyd Jay Bennett, who the benefit is named after.
“Her mom had to quit work and Sophia has no immune system and they need help,” Bennett said. “The other family is from Temple and her name is Sophia also. She is 5 years old and is a leukemia patient in remission.
“Her family also needs financial assistance and that’s what this benefit is all about. My dad had a soft spot for kids, so he would be proud.”
Lloyd Jay Bennett was 62 when on the way home from a routine day at work, a vehicle with teenagers ran a stop sign and hit his van in Gatesville. He was ejected and died instantly in January 2013. The family was concerned about paying for his funeral and that’s how the benefit began, Bennett said.
“Three weeks before the fundraiser, we found out Dad had made provisions and we didn’t need the money,” he said. “We did the benefit anyway, but gave 100 percent of the donations to two families in need. It was a huge success and we were so moved by it.”
With help from friends and family, the Bennetts were able to select families who were desperately in need of assistance, said Kevin Keller, a close friend who met Cody Bennett at church. Now the Bennett family has filed for 501(c)3 nonprofit status and hope to continue the benefit annually.
Sophia Bobe is oxygen-dependent and on a feeding tube and has already suffered an infection, Elizabeth Bobe said.
“We turned in our cars and friends and family has helped. It’s by the grace of God that we have managed on one paycheck,” Bobe said. “We were so overwhelmed that the Kellers’ nominated us and thought of us after over a year. It’s still such a struggle even though she’s at home now.”
The fundraiser is free and open to the public and will have 12 live bands performing throughout the day. There will be a silent auction including Harley-Davidson décor, guided fish trips, gift cards and, for the kids, bounce houses and games. There also will be a horseshoe and washer tournament with a $40 tournament entry fee.
“Everything else is free. We only ask for donations,” Bennett said. “My dad was the kind of guy that would give a stranger the shirt off his back. This benefit will truly honor his heart of gold.”
The benefit also needs auction items and volunteers. Call Cody Bennett at 254-449-3786 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald