ELBURN – Keith Callaghan has been a Lions Club volunteer since he was a young boy.
His mom and dad, Jan and Bill Callaghan, were lifelong members since 1962, the year after they were married. His dad, deceased now, was the first president of the park board, in charge of maintaining Lions Park, and his mom was the volunteer event coordinator for more than 20 years.
Keith Callaghan has been mowing the Lions Park lawn and working at picnics as long as Lion Pam Hall can remember.
“Keith is a very generous and kind person,” Hall said. “He would give you the shirt off his back and not expect anything in return.”
So when Callaghan, a self-employed carpenter, suffered an injury May 11 at a construction site in Genoa, leaving him paralyzed from his chest down, Hall knew that she and the other Lions would come out in force to do whatever they could for him.
Hall is coordinating a fundraising benefit at the park Sept. 9 to raise money to help with Callaghan’s medical and other expenses.
Callaghan was knocked off his feet while on the job when a piece of plywood took to the air, lifted by a gust of wind. He fell 10 feet to the ground and landed on his head, shoulder and back.
Callaghan was airlifted to OSF St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Rockford and transferred two weeks later to the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (formerly RIC) in Chicago for intense physical therapy. He was released to come home on July 30.
“He has a long road of recovery ahead of him,” Hall said. “Our goal is to help offset some of these expenses so Keith can focus on his complete recovery.”
Callaghan, who will be 51 in September, also has worked as a part-time firefighter with the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District since 1983.
His mom said he started out as a cadet when he was in high school.
His three daughters, Nichole, 24, Kendall, 22 and Samantha, 16, are currently living with him in a wheelchair-accessible house in Elburn where they moved when he came home from rehab.
He arrived to a welcome home party thrown by his fellow firefighters, who presented him with a flag.
“It was very, very special,” Jan Callaghan said.
The Keith Callaghan and Family Benefit on Sept. 9 will be hosted by the Elburn Lions Club at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Filmore St in Elburn.
Doors open at 2 p.m. The admission of $15 for adults (13 years or older) and $10 for children (4 to 12 years old) includes dinner (cash bar). Children 4 and under are free.
Admission is paid at the door, with no pre-sales.
Dinner – pulled pork, hot dogs, brats and sides – will be served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The family friendly event will feature live music from 3 to 5 p.m. Local country band Back Country Roads has donated the entertainment.
A bounce house donated by Z Moon Bouncers is available for children. There is a photo booth donated by VIP Photo Booth, and The Pink Heals firetruck will be at the event.
Proceeds from sales at the event will benefit Callaghan and his family.
Hall said they are asking for donations for a raffle of gift certificates, services (certificates for mechanical services, home maintenance, landscaping, etc.) and items (furniture, electronics, decorative items, etc.) submitted or notified of them by Sept. 1.
For information, visit the Elburn Lions website or contact Lion Pam Hall at 630-618-8372 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Lion Renee Hall at 815-826-0501 or ReneeRHall13@gmail.com.
There will be a live auction for larger ticket items at 7 p.m., with Almburg Auctioneering donating their services.
“Local businesses have been very generous,” Hall said.
There is a large variety of items, from gift certificates to themed baskets to one-week vacation home rentals in Arizona and Florida, a flight on a private jet and sports tickets, including VIP Bears tickets.
Hall said they are anticipating about 500 guests and plan to raise enough money to support the Callaghan family through the financial hurdles surrounding the circumstances of Callaghan’s accident.
Hall said Keith Callaghan has been emotional, overwhelmed and very appreciative of the support for him from the community.
For those who cannot attend but wish to help, checks made payable to Elburn Lions Charities can be mailed to the Elburn Lions Club, Attn: Callaghan Benefit, 500 Filmore St., Elburn, IL 60119.