04/23/12 A benefit planned for Matthew Pickut and his family has touched many people in the community. Pickut, associate pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Plymouth, continues to need specialized medical care. He first became ill in early February with what was later diagnosed as a severe septic strep infection. After several long weeks in the hospital, he was transferred to Cardinal Hill in Lexington, Kentucky where there is a program for minimally conscious patients to receive physical, occupational and speech therapies.


Although Pickut will continue to have health insurance benefits and other compensations from the United Methodist Conference, the money will be used to meet travel and other expenses associated with this situation. Ruth VanVactor and Marilyn Rans are coordinating the benefit scheduled for April 27 at the church fellowship hall. The event will be a dinner along with both a silent and live auction with Sam Goebel ad auctioneer and a bake sale. All of the tickets for the dinner featuring pulled pork sandwiches from Yellow River BBQ have been sold, but those working on the benefit are encouraging the community to come for the auctions and bake sale or to offer a financial donation. Dinner will be served for those who have purchased advanced tickets from 4:30-7:00.


The auctions will be held in the sanctuary. The silent auction will be from silent 4:30-6:45 p.m.. SA sampling of the items being auctioned include: Flower hanging baskets from Felke Florists, hand-made bird house, tote box, wood box, children’s wooden rocking horse, clock, Vera Bradley purses, wooden chair flower pot, hand knitted afghans, shawls, baby blankets and sweaters, movie night basket, chocolate basket, kids outdoor play toy basket, Bath & Body Works baskets, restaurant gift certificates, Yoder’s Sporting Goods gift certificate and more. Rumor has it, “Methodist are good cooks” we are counting on that – there will gift certificates from United Methodist women and men who will cook or bake through gift certificates delivering the food when the winner schedules it.


The live auction will begin at 5:45. Some of the items donated include: a weekend stay at the Condo a the Cove on Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, dinner for 8 people prepared and served by Lynn Gee, Mayor Mark Senter grilling your brats and hot dogs at a picnic, hand-made king-size quilt and quilted wall hangings, original framed floral water color and dual membership to Meijer Gardens (Grand Rapids) and gift certificate at the gift shop, Swan Lake Golf Package with cart and lesson (four packages), ReMax-hot air balloon ride, ReMax-donation of the loan of a tent table and chairs for outdoor event, and Silverhawks suite (2 packages including tickets for 20 people).


In addition to his work with the church, Matt Pickut serves as the Chaplin for the Plymouth Fire Department and a Speech and Debate Coach for Plymouth High School. David McKenzie, head Speech and Debate coach for PHS, notified the team members of the need for volunteers for this event. Within the first day, 14 students had already signed up.

McKenzie said, “Matt has been a great addition to our coaching staff for several years. Our staff and students miss his coaching skills and his sense of humor.” He added, “We wish Matt and his family the best as he continues his rehabilitation in Lexington. Our thoughts and prayers will remain with him.” Patrick Felke, senior Speech Team member said, “I grew up with Mr. Pickut on the speech team. He is the most influential and intelligent man I have ever known.” “Anytime he spoke to us, he grabbed our attention. He has become a very important man to me.”


Church members have also stepped up to care for Abigail as Barbie travels to be with her husband.

Ruth VanVactor said they welcome any donations of money or to the auctions or event from the community. For more information, call the church office at 936-2943 or by visiting the website see additional auction items added facebook.com/plymouthfumc.

Carol Anders Correspondent and Shelley Heiden