Carmella’s Cafe hosts fundraiser for Boardman track star

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Junior Micah Beckwith, surrounded by his family, enjoyed dinner at Carmella's Cafe during the fundraising event on July 14 to raise money for a new racing chair for him before the next track season.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Athetic Director Denise Gorski thanked community members for attending a fundraiser she and her husband, Dan, organized for Boardman High School junior Micah Beckwith to help raise funds for a new racing chair for the student.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker .Lou Anderson, a 94-year-old veteran and a parent of a former Boardman student, performed a song on his cornet during the fundraiser on July 14.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker .A buffet of food was provided to community members who gathered at Carmilla's Cafe in Boardman for a fundraiser for a new racing chair for track star Micah Beckwith.


Neighbors | Jessica Harker .More than 55 items were donated to a Chinese auction benefiting a new racing chair for Boardman track star Micah Beckwith, who is going into his junior year at Boardman High School.


On July 14, Carmella’s Cafe in Boardman hosted a fundraiser for BHS junior Micah Beckwith.

The event was organized by Denise Gorski, the school’s athletic director, and her husband Dan to raise money to get Micah a new racing chair for his track competitions.

The school currently rents a chair for Micah from Adaptive Sports Ohio, though the rental chair hosts its own unique challenges.

“We have had to do some chair maintenance,” said Track Coach John Phillips. “And what we noticed at state last year was that most of the athletes that were there had their own.”

Phillips said that having his own chair would allow Micah to train year round, as well as fit the chair for him uniquely.

“It’s great that we are able to rent a chair but there were frustrations with the rental this year, and I think that was apparent at state,” Phillips said. “I think Micah felt he could have done better despite having done very well.”

During his freshman year, Beckwith reached the all Ohioan level for three of the four events he competes in. Sophomore year he reached the state level again, going all Ohioan at two events.

Gorski said that she has wanted to have a fundraiser to get Beckwith his own chair since he first went to state.

She explained that after speaking with him at state this year, she was determined to make it happen.

“At the state tournament this year I went over to him. He had his medal on and I said, ‘How do you feel?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t do as well as last year,’” Gorski said. “I asked him if his own chair would help and he said yes, so I told him we were going to make that happen.”

The new racer chair would be anywhere from $4,000-$5,000 according to Gorski, depending on what grade of chair the school is able to purchase.

To help accomplish this goal, Gorski said that the community has provided a huge amount of support, starting with Carmella’s Cafe, where Gorski and he husband are regulars.

The cafe donated their location, on a day they are usually closed to the public.

Along with their support, community organizations donated around 55 items for a Chinese Auction, some of which were worth more than $300.

“We just want to give back to the community,” said Lisa Ahlswede, one of the owners of Carmilla’s. “It has been amazing to see the community come together for a person that deserves it.”

Former NFL quarterback Mike Tomzack also attended the event in support of Beckwith.

“Denise brought it to my attention,” Tomzack said. “Life is all about serving others and this community accepted me so it was kind of a seamless transition.”

Gorski said that community members across the valley who could not attend the event offered monetary donations.

“The support has been amazing,” Phillips said. “Since this was proposed the outpouring of support not just in Boardman but across the area is outstanding.”

Ahlswede said that local children even hosted a lemonade stand, dropping off $77 for the fundraiser.

“I am grateful for everything that everyone has done,” Beckwith said.

He explained that his goal with his new chair is to go up a few places at the next state tournament, and continue to train year round.

“The fact that he has had this amount of success is a testament to him,” Phillips said. “He is truly a trailblazer.”

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