Fundraisers earn $25K for injured pastor

A crowd of Coupeville residents spent Saturday washing a long line of cars to raise money for the Arnold family. - Kathy Reed photo
A crowd of Coupeville residents spent Saturday washing a long line of cars to raise money for the Arnold family.
— image credit: Kathy Reed photo

Two separate fundraisers to benefit the Coupeville pastor injured in a fall brought in more than $25,000 over the weekend to help with expenses related to the accident and his recovery.

Garrett Arnold, the pastor of Living Hope Foursquare Church in Coupeville, suffered a spinal cord injury that will force him to use a wheelchair.

The Whidbey Island community has rallied around Arnold and his family, holding the first of two weekend fundraisers Friday, Sept. 7 at the CPO Club in Oak Harbor.

“It was very successful. The community was very generous,” said Suzanne Zettle, treasurer and director of women’s ministries at the church. “The silent auction and dance raised $23,000. It is beyond awesome.”

Zettle said 200 tickets to the benefit dance and auction sold out in a matter of days and businesses from all over Whidbey Island and even as far as Seattle donated items for the auction.

Music was provided by Coupeville band Johnny Bulldog, led by John Tristao, a former member of the group Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The band even auctioned off another concert appearance to raise money.

“That band – their generosity is over the top,” Zettle said. “They rose to the occasion and poured their all into it.”

Other auction items included dinners at area restaurants, entertainment and spa packages and “anything that you can think of,” Zettle said.

But the community’s generosity didn’t end there. A car wash held Saturday in the parking lot at Windermere Real Estate in Coupeville raised another $3,000 for the Arnold family.

“There was a line before the car wash even started,” said Shelli Trumbull of Cascade Insurance, who helped organize the event.

“We were washing three to four cars at a time – and that continued the entire time,” she said. “It was awesome.”

Trumbull said there were at least 17 volunteers there at all times, although many stayed the entire day. She said generations of people have been touched by the Arnold family in one way or another and wanted to give back.

“The community really came out to support the Arnold family,” she said. “People donated what they could and some people were walking up to us handing us $100 bills. It was great.”

Windermere in Coupeville donated the water for the car wash – which in Coupeville is no small expense – and Coupeville Coffee and Bistro donated refreshments for the volunteers.

“People came out of the woodwork to help,” Trumbull said.

Zettle said the Arnold family is grateful for the support shown by so many people.

“The family is just overwhelmed with the outpouring of love from the community,” she said. “It’s phenomenal.”

“We are completely overwhelmed and really blessed,” agreed Sarah Viers, Garrett Arnold’s sister-in-law, who is acting as a family spokesperson.

Arnold, who continues to recover at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, is doing well, Viers said.

“He is in the midst of some really intense occupational and physical therapy,” she said. “They work him to his maximum every day.”

While an exact date has not been set for Arnold’s homecoming, Viers said the family is hoping he will be allowed to return in early- to mid-autumn.

In the meantime, another fundraiser is being planned at Applebee’s restaurant in Oak Harbor on Wednesday, Sept. 19. More details will be available soon.

Also, prayer services at the church that began to pray for Arnold and his family will continue from 7 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday through September, according to Zettle, who said the scope of the service has changed.

“It’s grown from praying for healing and provision for the pastor and his family to anyone else who needed prayer,” she said.

“Several different churches have been represented and we’re all coming together and praying for the needs of the community.”

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