Benefit raises funds for family of Cape man electrocuted while trimming tree
Erick Begle worked hard to help his family, whether was cutting lawns or working at local eateries, even during a holiday.
People saw that dedication. Many of them became his friends and, when Erick’s life was cut short over the Memorial Day weekend, they, as well as complete strangers, stepped forward to help his wife and four small children.
On Monday, at the Nauti Parrot at Marinatown in North Fort Myers, a benefit was held to raise money for the family. It included raffles for items such as gift cards, wine baskets and other items as well as a 50/50 drawing.
Proceeds from sales and vendors also went to the family, with the hope of raising more than $2,000.
And the community, as it has done so often, came up big.
Eric’s wife, Samantha, said she has been overwhelmed by the support.
“I can’t even express how grateful me and my family are for everyone doing this for us,” Samantha tearfully said. “It’s tremendous.”
A GoFundMe account was established, which has so far raised nearly $30,000. A second account has raised another $5,000, not counting what was raised at the Nauti Parrot or unreported acts of kindness.
Begle, 35, of Cape Coral and co-owner of Begle Property Maintenance, was killed May 27 when he was electrocuted while cutting down a tree limb that was in contact with a power line, leaving Samantha and four children, Cheyenne, Bentley, Aston and Royce, without their father.
In the aftermath, the community has stepped up to help Samantha pay expenses and start a college fund for the kids and help care for them, as some have health issues.
Ryan Begle, Erick’s brother, said the family has always been there to help others get back on their feet. This is a natural payback.
“It’s what we’ve always done. We don’t take things for granted. Everyone needs help, so everyone is helping out doing this and saying anything they need, they’ll help out with,” Begle said. “A lot of people have stepped up.”
Jo Bacon, Samantha’s mother, has been doing her share by helping to care for the children.
“Having four kids has kept her pretty busy. It’s been a whirlwind. There’s been a lot of help from the schools the kids attend and the community. It’s been a lot of help,” Bacon said. “People have been very good to us.”
Mary Geib, owner of the Nauti Parrot, and manager Randy Kemp, who used to work with Samantha and Erick at Chili’s, got the ball rolling on their end, getting donations and doing what they could to help.
“They’ve been friends of mine for several years and when I heard what happened, we wanted to host a benefit here to help out,” Kemp said. “A lot of friends and family got involved and donations started coming in, and a lot of them are here today.”
Samantha said she didn’t know exactly where the generosity came from, but was happy it was bringing people together rather than tearing them apart.
“People see a family is in need and I’m amazed. You hear about all the horrors in the world. You never hear about the positives but rather the hate,” Samantha said. “People are coming together to help somebody.”