Archdiocese Local

When bootstraps break annual Baileyville Benefit is there to cushion the fall

The annual Baileyville Benefit began in 1982 with the simple goal of raising money to fund whatever needs came up in the community. To date, the benefit has generated more than $1 million for individuals and organizations in need. COURTESY PHOTO

by Moira Cullings

BAILEYVILLE — It’s an early life lesson that Dan Broxterman took to heart.

“My mom and dad always told us that every dollar you give to somebody else will come back to you sevenfold,” he said.

“My family is living proof of it,” he continued. “And this benefit is living proof of it.”

Broxterman and his wife Lori, parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish in Baileyville, created a benefit in 1982 with the simple goal of helping their community.

Since then, the Baileyville Benefit has generated more than $1 million for individuals and organizations in need.

“The community is what makes this thing thrive,” said Broxterman. “I don’t think this happens everywhere.”

Big impact

The 40th annual Baileyville Benefit will take place on Feb. 26 and 27 at Nemaha Central High School in Seneca.

It will include basketball and volleyball tournaments, a chance drawing, concession stand, silent auction, wheel of fortune and an online auction during the week leading up to the event.

Attendance is free and no registration is required.

This year’s beneficiaries, chosen by a board of directors, are a young boy with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome; a woman suffering from a pancreatic tumor; a man recovering from a stroke; the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital; and the Nemaha County Training Center.

The annual Baileyville Benefit started 40 years ago as a small fundraiser. It has since raised more than $2 million for local causes. COURTESY PHOTO

Some money raised is also kept for community needs that arise throughout the year, like car accidents, fires and medical situations.

In 2020, the benefit brought in nearly $200,000. Last year’s was held virtually and still raised some $135,000.

It was only the second time in the event’s 40-year history it didn’t raise more money than the previous year.

Humble beginnings

The Broxtermans never expected the Baileyville Benefit to come as far as it has.

In 1982, Broxterman’s town basketball team played on Sunday nights and drew a small crowd. He came up with the idea to charge admission to benefit local causes.

“We ended up making 506 bucks, and we thought that was really a great deal,” he said. “It gave us such a good feeling that we wanted to keep doing that.”

The 1990 fundraiser showed how increasingly significant the event had become.

The daughter of one of Broxterman’s friends had been abducted, and the father needed money to hire a private investigator to find her.

Broxterman had high hopes for raising the money but couldn’t get the support he needed.

“I told my wife, ‘We’re going to run the thing ourselves,’” he said. “And we made $5,700.”

The friend ended up finding his daughter in California and came to the benefit the next year to tell the story.

“He totally attributed it to the money that we made to help him out,” said Broxterman. “It was a big tear-jerker for everybody that was involved.”

Worthy causes

The financial help is critical for each recipient, said Clete Kramer, president of the benefit and parishioner of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Seneca

But narrowing down the beneficiaries is never easy.

“There’s some years we can’t put everybody on [the list], so we pick who we think needs it now,” he said. “We keep the names of the ones that we didn’t use for next year.

“It’s very gratifying.”

Those who attend this year’s Baileyville Benefit have the opportunity to help individuals and organizations by participating in auctions, purchasing food and more. COURTESY PHOTO

Rex Lowe was chosen as one of this year’s beneficiaries after he had a stroke in June 2021.

His wife Patty was floored when she heard the news.

“I was shocked,” she said. “It’s been very humbling the amount of people that will help us out.”

The donations the couple will receive will make a world of difference for Rex’s recovery, which includes home health care four days a week.

He still has no use of his left arm and walks with a cane but is determined to continue making progress, said Patty.

“He really pushes himself to get his strength back and get back everything he’s lost,” she said.

His outlook toward the professionals who work with him is one of hope.

“‘I won’t give up on me if you won’t give up on me’ — that’s his motto,” said Patty.

Although the couple lives in Phillips County, Patty attended Baileyville School and her sister works with Kramer.

Rex is a camp ranger at a Boy Scout reservation in Kirwin, where the couple resides. Patty quit her job to take care of him and ensure he keeps his job until he can retire.

For Lori Broxterman, helping people like the Lowes is what it’s all about.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “You really know how much they appreciate it when the next year they want to make sure they are part of it. It’s an eye- opening event for them.”

Rich tradition

If not for the community support, Broxterman and Kramer might attribute the Baileyville Benefit’s enormous success to a cherished custom.

“It was always an old German tradition that when you sold a pitchfork at your farm sale,” said Broxterman, “if it brought good money, you were going to have a good farm sale.

“Every year, that’s the number one item that we auction off.”

It sells for anywhere from $700 to $1,200 each year, and the person who buys the pitchfork gets the glory of having their name etched into a brass plaque.

“Ironically, every year, the auction’s gotten bigger,” said Kramer.

The organizers hope this year will be no different.

“This is our gift back to the community to make it better,” said Broxterman. “If you’re not willing to do something for your community, it’s not going to get any better.”

He encourages others to get involved in their communities, too.

“When you see the people you give to are hugging you and crying,” he said, “it’s a really touching feeling.

“It’s a feeling everybody should have.”

For more information, visit the benefit’s Facebook page at:

To participate in the online auction, go online to:

For questions, call Dan Broxterman at (785) 336-1382 or Clete Kramer at (785) 336-1962.

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

Leave a Comment