A few months ago, 16-year-old Blake Van Vark was killed in a traffic accident. My son-in-law had been both his teacher and his coach.
In a Pella fundraiser put on by the Kyle Korver Foundation, 7,000 donated t-shirts were sold in Pella during Tulip Time from Seer Outfitters, a clothing line that is part of the Foundation. In addition, an auction of donated items included autographed jerseys from Chicago Bull’s players Kyle Korver and Derrick Rose, a baseball signed by the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter, and items signed by Oskaloosa native Tyler Sash of the New York Giants, and a 1980 Olympic gold medal from Knoxville Athletic Director Randy Wilson. (A group of people pooled their money to buy the gold medal and return in to Randy.) All proceeds from the auction and shirt sales will go toward a planned sports complex in Pella. Part of that complex will be named for Van Vark.
Sales were brisk. Emotions ran high. Blake’s mother folded the shirt and placed it in a bag for me. I unfolded it and handed it to my son-in-law. He will wear it, and we will all remember Blake.