SPAGHETTI DINNER FOR KEVIN ARBOGAST - This is where I spent my birthday on April 29 - with hundreds of people coming together to help Kevin in his fight against ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease).

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
SPAGHETTI DINNER FOR KEVIN ARBOGAST - This is where I spent my birthday on April 29 - with hundreds of people coming together to help Kevin in his fight against ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease).
I spent my day with some of the most generous, loving, spiritual, beautiful people - people who were there to love on Kevin, celebrate his marriage to his new bride Debbie, and offer prayers and best wishes as he and Debbie travel this journey.
There is no place I would have rather been that day. All of those people inspired me, moved me. Such love that came out of the quaint little town of Fort Ashby. Kevin Arbogast - you are rich indeed.
For those of you who were unable to attend the event last Sunday, here are two options for you to consider if you would like to help Kevin and his wife: (currently, we have collected $520 for Kevin, and our goal is $2,000)
Or, you can mail a donation to Kevin and Debbie Arbogast, 1913 Baker Hollow Road, Ridgeley, WV 26753.
According to the ALS Association:
    •    Approximately 6,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated there are more than 20,000 Americans may be living with ALS at any given time.
    •    ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries and can affect anyone.
    •    Military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.
    •    The onset of ALS often involves muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.
You see - ALS is a monster that steals our loved ones from us. That monster rips through a family - leaving devastation in its wake. It chomps and devours - hungry and thirsty, waiting to wreak havoc on everyone around the ALS warrior. It cares not one iota for the terror it causes.
One such warrior is Kevin Arbogast. Husband of his new bride Debbie, lover of all creatures who bark, give sloppy kisses and wag their tails with more devotion than one can ever imagine. Man with the most extraordinary family - one that worked tirelessly last Sunday to raise over $7,300 at the spaghetti dinner so that he and Debbie could meet some of the mounting medical expenses related to the ALS. Man who worked all of his life to take care of his family, and his life's obligations - until this monster found him.
Kevin Arbogast - a man of faith, a man with a heart of gold, a man facing the greatest fight of his life. There are many in his family who would take his place in a minute.
I met a lot of his family last Sunday - people he was surrounded to Kevin in prayer circles at a fire hall - praying for a miracle, praying for strength and courage and praying for a cure for the 5,999 other people who will be diagnosed over the next year with this disease. The Arbogast family - absolutely extraordinary.
For those of you who pray, please take two minutes after you are finished reading this column, and pray for Kevin. Lift him and his beautiful wife up in prayer. Their journey is so difficult, prayers are important. If your church has prayer chains or prayer trees, please add him to those lists. Keep Kevin and Debbie in your daily prayers, for God hears every single one. "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He's watching me."
A family is now beginning a new project at Kevin and Debbie's home. They will be building a ramp so that Kevin can easily access his home with his power chair. The cost for this will be approximately $1,500. As I mentioned, the youcaring fund has been established, and donations to this fund will be used specifically for the things that Kevin must have to make his life comfortable. I assure you that the youcaring site online is secure, and the family can access the funds at any time as the project progresses. We would kindly appreciate even the smallest donation to help Kevin. Neighbors helping neighbors...I like the sound of that.
For those of you who have never faced the ALS monster - please say a prayer of Thanksgiving - for you have been spared. For those of you who know what ALS can do, and will do - my love and prayers for God's blessings every day of your lives. Ladies and gentlemen - there are warriors around us all over the world. Warriors who fight, warriors with the greatest courage. I'm proud to say I know one such warrior. Kevin Arbogast. I love those two words.
As for last Sunday's event - thanks to the generosity of the Fort Ashby community, the friends and family of Kevin Arbogast, and a committee of the hardest working people I have ever met. My personal and heartfelt thanks to each and every one of those who helped make this fundraiser a huge success - making it possible to provide $7,302 to help Kevin with his extensive medical treatments related to his disease.
A very special thank you to the firefighters of Fort Ashby Volunteer Fire Companu for the use of their facility. And, thank you to everyone for their tremendous support and generosity to help Kevin - neighbors, Fort Hill High School Class of '79, businesses and Mark Ashby and the Odem Family reaching out to one of their own. I am wowed and humbled by this whole was my privilege to meet all of you wonderful people.
To all of you who baked cakes, prepared and served the spaghetti dinner, washed dishes, collected donations throughout the community, made baked goodies for the bake sale, distributed posters, attended Acting Out for ALS Research, Inc.'s production of "Mary Poppins," shared posts on social media, worked in the dining room, sold tickets, made signs, provided food items and supplies for the dinner itself, set up and tore down, manned booths at the event, gave donations directly to Kevin and Debbie, shopped, made salads and drinks...THANK YOU! Because of all of you, the expenses for this dinner were so minimal that we were still able to provide over $7,300 to Kevin and Debbie...WOW.
And to Cindy Arbogast, Lareda Thomas Wiland, Les Nutter and Debbie Nutter, the love of Kevin's life - you four ladies did an amazing job making everything happen. The absolute best committee I have EVER worked with...seriously. Much love and respect for each of you. Thank you for your tireless efforts...last Sunday was a magnificent day for Kevin because of you. They say it takes a village, and you four "village people" - what a force of love and kindness in your hearts.