Caroljo Nagel wasn't in her usual seat. She wasn't even in the audience.
Blain Schilreff knew something was wrong when Nagel missed a Community Concert Association event in Kimball, Neb., the town where they both live.
Schilreff, who is on the association's board, asked around. Nagel had no transportation because her car had died for good.
“How in the world can I help this woman?” Schilreff wondered. “She just really, truly struggles.”
He started a campaign to get another vehicle for Nagel. “I used Facebook as my main way to communicate with people,” he said. Schilreff also went door to door in Kimball. “This truly is to pay it forward,” he said.
Nagel will get her car Nov. 23 at her home. Schilreff hoped it would be a surprise, but, “It's really hard to keep a secret in a town of 2,000 people.”
Donors had given $4,885 as of Friday morning, 17 days into the campaign. He said the contributions break down this way: $3,385 for the vehicle; a used car worth $500 to be used as a trade-in; and an anonymous gift of $1,000 earmarked for license plates, gas, oil changes, etc.
Contributions have come from Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Michigan.
“It definitely has affected people in a really positive way. It's about people getting involved and wanting to be part of the story,” Schilreff said.
There's still time to be part of the story. Donations will be taken through Nov. 22.
Make out checks to Caroljo Nagel and send them to: Attention Blain Schilreff, 617 S. Jefferson St., Kimball, NE 69145. Contributions also can be made at his Facebook page, facebook.com/home.php#!/bschilreff, and by calling him at 308-230-0195.