Pete Liegl, founder of Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc., donated $200,000 to a charity benefiting a local hospital at a recent fundraising event.
The Elkhart Truth reported that Leigl was among numerous benefactors that generated an estimated $700,000 Friday (Feb. 14) with half of the money going to the Elkhart General Hospital Foundation and half to the Martin’s Foundation, an arm of Martin’s Super Markets.
“I am astonished. I am humbled, overwhelmed,” said Rob Bartels, president and CEO of Martin’s.
The gala marked the one-month anniversary of a tragic event for the Elkhart community. On Jan. 15, a man killed two women in a Martin’s supermarket on East Bristol Street before being shot and killed by Elkhart police. It was a news story that garnered national coverage and around which the Elkhart community has rallied.
Tim Portolese, co-chairman of the fundraising committee, said they came up with the idea to remember the two women who lost their lives by giving back.
The Martin’s Foundation will give some of the funds to the Elkhart Police Department to support the families and employees who need mental health services after the tragedy.
“I was beyond amazed,” Portolese said. He’s helped organize a number of charity fundraising events, but said this appeal to help the Martin’s Foundation tops many other auctions.
“This shows what a community is,” he said.
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