There was a standing room only benefit for Dane Gregg, the voice of Pirate Radio and community contributer, on Sunday at the Knights of Columbus hall. Gregg was surrounded by friends as he battles esophageal cancer. The benefit was organized by close friend Aletha Odneal.
Friends were constantly coming into the building, even after lunch was served to show their support for Gregg. Many were wearing 'Team Dane' shirts, which were purchased at the event.
Gregg, along with his wife Jackie, took center stage as the program began. Longtime friend and Boonville High School graduate Tom Krse who has written a number of stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul, began with a story about football. The story touched on perseverance and concluded by comparing the storie’s situation to Gregg and his battle against cancer as he moves forward.
"Never run away from what you are afraid of, run right at it," Krse said. "Behind fear is freedom. You never find freedom if you run away. As a matter of fact, not long, you have no place to run."
He told Gregg the people here today are here to support him and his family.
"They are here to cheer for you. Everyone in this room has been touched by you in some way," Krse said. "They are here to cheer for you and root for you and encourage you to take every step necessary to help you face this challenge. This illness brings a lot of fear. When fear comes just remember never run away from what you are afraid of, run right at it," he repeated. "We love you, we support you and you can do this."
Once Krse completed his words for Gregg, they shared a hug.
A quilt was stitched together for Gregg by members of a grass roots organization known as Quilts of Valor because of his service in the United States Marine Corp during the Vietnam War. Area quilters have been creating quilts for men and women who have served in all American wars since 2003 and have made 86 quilts during that time.
Odneal spoke for a few seconds expressing her love and appreciation for Gregg as a close friend.
"When I organized this, Dane asked me if he was worth it," Odneal said.
She replied to Gregg.
"You see by the turnout today that everyone around you is here to support you."
Gregg said he and Jackie were overwhelmed from the support they received.
"We do not have the words to express how grateful we are to everyone," Gregg said.