By Sue Finley
When Mike Levy was called to the podium by Becky Goodman at the UK Markey Cancer Foundation’s dinner and live auction at Mt. Brilliant Farm Sunday night, the last thing he expected to be asked to do was to raise money for another charity.
“Every year, they have a golf tournament fundraiser with a party the night before where they auction off trips and experiences,” said Levy. “But unbeknownst to me or anyone else in the room, Becky Goodman told Tommy Biederman there would be one extra item auctioned last night on the program. I was bid spotting, and she called me to the podium and said that the community had lost a great friend in Bill Graves. `While we are here,’ she said, `what was Bill’s charity of choice?’ I said he was a proponent of the TAA, and then we collectively challenged the room to raise their hands to donate $1,000.”
“It was really spontaneous,” said Becky Goodman. “With so many people in the horse community in attendance, so many of the conversations drifted to Bill, and people saying, `I can’t believe Bill is gone,’ and as I sat during the auction, I thought this would be some way we could give back to Bill. He was such a good guy; someone you could always go to for an honest opinion. So when the auction was over, I said, `I’d like to do one last thing. Who would like to honor Bill Graves with a donation to his favorite foundation?’ Mike stepped in and said, `How about stand up for $1,000. And within a few short minutes, we raised the money, and it made everyone feel so good to do something nice for something he cared so much about.”
Levy said that they raised $30,000 from donations from the crowd.
“We are honored to be the recipient of the industry’s generosity, and we cannot thank the Graves family enough for their support of the TAA,” said Stacie Clark Rogers, Operations Consultant for the TAA. “We are devastated by the loss of Bill, and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”