The owner of Ennis’ Kolache Depot has always provided much more to his neighbors than just the authentic Czech treats his bakery is known for.
Greg McElroy has also been there to support his numerous circles of friends through physical, emotional and financial troubles, said Penny Boston, a friend of the McElroys and librarian at the Ennis Sixth Grade Center.
So when the opportunity to return all of McElroy’s favors came up, Boston said, rallying support from the community was a simple task.
“So much of it stems from the fact that he has done so much for other people,” Boston said. “It’s kind of a no-brainer for everybody to chip in.”
McElroy was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after his oldest daughter was married this summer and though Boston said his recent surgery and treatments seem to have been effective, they have also put him out of commission.
That coupled with the fact that his insurance will not cover all of his medical bills — including a stay in the intensive care unit to fight a staph infection after his surgery gery — was all the information his friends needed to jump into action, said Danny Zapletal, who has worked with McElroy in the past to plan the National Polka Festival.
A group of about eight of his friends came together about three months ago to plan a benefit to raise money to relieve some of those medical bills and to show support for their friend who has always been there to show support for them, Boston said.
“Greg’s done a lot for a lot of people and when he went through all his hard times he’s been going through we decided we needed to put a benefit (together) for him,” Zapletal said.
The event, which takes place Sunday at the KJT Auditorium in Ennis, will include an afternoon meal, dancing, auctions and a raffle.
The items for the live and silent auctions were all donated and include everything from an iPhone to sporting event tickets to a helicopter ride for two to a multi-course dinner for eight made by a local woman who is known for her delicious meals, Boston said.
“When we first started getting donations for the auction we didn’t think we’d have enough,” Boston said. “Now we’re having to turn people down.”
Emcee Brother Van from KSCS has volunteered to be the master of ceremonies for the afternoon and three different bands will entertainment entertainment, said Zapletal, who will play polka music with his band, Czech and Then Some.
Zapletal said McElroy and his family will also be at the event and that McElroy has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community in putting together this event.
“He didn’t know what to say,” Zapletal said. “It’s really touched him a whole lot.”
Boston said the team doesn’t have a specific amount of money they hope to raise but that they’ve printed off 1,000 tickets for the benefit and expect that the hall will be full of McElroy’s friends both from Ennis and from his previous job in Dallas.
“We’re just a big circle of friends, a big tight knit group that support each other in whatever is going on,” Boston said.
Sunday, Nov. 18, at KJT Auditorium in Ennis
Admission: $12 for adults, $5 for children 6 - 12, 6 and under eat free
For those wanting to join in the festivities after lunch, admission will be $5
The barbecue lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Live auction from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Silent auction and raffle will be announced at 5:30 p.m.