Silent auction to help Nelson family in time of need

The door of Rogan Nelson\'s hospital room at Devos Children\'s Hosptial in Grand Rapids was decorated by his family. A silent auction is on Facebook designed to help the Nelson family after Rogan was in a work-related accident in June.

LUTHER — Like other times when a need is there, the LeRoy, Tustin, and Luther communities have come together to help out one of their own.

For that reason, Tiffany Clark has been working at helping a local family after a work accident left their teenage son critically injured.

Clark said Craig and Jolene Nelson have always been quick to help when others were in need and now that they require some assistance it only made sense the community would be there to back them. For that reason, a silent auction has been started online via a Facebook group. The silent auction originally was going to be held during the fireworks display at Luther Days but after its cancelation, Clark said she had to think outside the box.

"We had intended to do a regular silent auction on the sidewalk during the fireworks at Luther Days, but we were forced to look at differently due to COVID. We decided to do a group online," she said.

The Facebook group can be found by searching, "Nelson Silent Auction," or by going to The group is open to the public, but items can only be bid on via the group's Facebook page, Clark said. While it is not a normal way to do a silent auction, Clark said it has its benefits.

First, a person won't miss out on any items. She also said it will keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having the family's blessing to hold the event also was necessary, according to Clark.

"I reached out to the family probably a week and a half before the Fourth of July. Once it was decided the family was comfortable, it (the silent auction) spread like wildfire," Clark said.

The silent auction includes, but is not limited to, a Traeger Pellet Grill, tools, chainsaws, photo session, health and beauty basket, gift certificates, and fishing trips. The auction started on July 6 and continues through 9 p.m. Sunday. Clark also said if an item is not directly shipped to the person with the winning bid, they will have to either pick the items up at the North Bar or the village hall in Luther.

The community gathered last month at the LeRoy Ballfields to show the Nelson family its support after their youngest son Rogan was seriously injured in a work-related accident near Petoskey. Rogan and his parents, Craig and Jolene, were in Grand Rapids at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital where the 16-year-old was said to be in stable but critical condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. They are still there, but no update regarding his condition has been given.

Rogan's great-grandfather Marvin Nelson said at the event last month in LeRoy that his grandson was working sodding and seeding areas along highways when the accident happened. He also said while the person his great-grandson was working for was local, they were near Petoskey and they were moving from one job site to another when it happened.

"They apparently weren't too far from the next job. They took the trailer and everything with them," he said last month.

Marvin said Rogan and one other person were riding in the back with bales of straw and when one bale moved and rolled off, Rogan rolled off with it. He said his great-grandson was first taken to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey before he was moved to Grand Rapids nearly a month ago. 

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