It’s been a little over a month since an amazing display of humanity showed itself at the Montcalm County 4-H Livestock Auction in Greenville, Mich. on June 27, and the impact continues to feel as good today as it did then.
At 17 years old, Carly Dunham of Cedar Springs, Mich. has shown animals at 4-H fairs for nine years. This year, she had a hog named Blake who was over the weight limit of 299 pounds, weighing in at 315.
She asked if he could be sold at the end of the sale to benefit a mother of four from her hometown who had been recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Show officials granted her request and it actually sold twice, for a total of $13,860.
“I just wanted to give back to someone who has been part of the community as she needs the money more than I do right now,” said Carly. “After the sale it was very overwhelming. I had no idea that my hog would sell for that much, but I was very happy it did. And I was really surprised the story got shared as much as it did, as I’m just a girl in the middle of nowhere.”
Jason Clark is the owner of Pioneer Auction Service in Alma, Mich. He had an inkling when presented with the request to sell Carly’s hog that it could be something special.
“Before the auction started we were handed a letter and asked if we would sell it as a benefit hog,” said Jason. “None of us really knew what to expect but I think we all said a little prayer, hoping that it turned out good for this young lady. I gave the crowd a warning about what we were going to do so they had a few minutes to talk and think about it. You could see a lot of families and business owners doing just that.”
According to Clark, when the time came to sell, Carly stepped into the ring with Blake’s picture. Hogs were selling from $2.50 to $4.00 a pound.
“The first number was five bucks a pound and when about five hands went in the air I knew we were in business. When the bidding ended he sold for $24.00 a pound to Wiesen Powder Coat of Belding and the whole building exploded with cheering,” Clark said.
“The best part is Wiesen donated it back to sell again and it brought $19.00 a pound the second time and was sold to Meijer. It was a true honor to be able to sell this hog for the family. I applaud this young lady for doing such a thing,” Clark continued.
Wiesen Powder Coat is well-known in Montcalm County for their support of community. Along with helping area football programs, they’ve provided support in local girls youth sports, Special Olympics, Central Montcalm Community Foundation, and Maddie’s House Park – a playhouse and playground equipment for special needs kids.
“It’s always been our belief at Wiesen that it’s important to help those in our community when we can,” said Jarrod Wiesen, owner of Wiesen Powder Coat. “When the auctioneer explained what was about to happen, a couple of us put our heads together and decided in short order this was something that just felt right to us. We’ve been to auctions before and hoped by donating it back someone else would feel the need to be part of it and Meijer didn’t let Carly down.”
A 17-year-old with a heart of gold stepped up to help someone in need and others followed. It’s stories like these we can never get enough of.