Community supports couple

Leslie Silverman
A community fundraiser for Butch and Val Koepp drew over 50 people to the Keystone Community Center gym Feb 24. The Bingo and silent auction evening was organized by Lynette Tyon, Sandi McLain and Jerry Przybylski, who also give credit to the city office staff, Candace Lorimor and Samantha Epler.
“Butch has always been here for me,” said Dale Main, a close friend of Butch, who spoke before Bingo play. “Let’s be here for him.” 
Tyon didn’t hesitate at doing the fundraiser, but asked for permission beforehand out of respect for the couple’s privacy. 
“I’ve always said, if there’s anybody that is needing for anything in the community that I’d be more than happy to do the Bingo,” she said. 
She heard about Butch’s need from Przybylski. Half the proceeds of the Bingo pool were collected for the Koepps, which was $266. The other half went to Bingo players as cash payouts.“Butch has just always been here. He would always drive his little four wheeler and his trike up and down the road,” Tyon said. “He’s just fun. Val’s just the sweetest person ever. She is very well-loved.”
This is not the first Bingo fundraiser Tyon has done for a town resident.
“Keystone knows how to come together for each other,” said Tammy Hunsacker, who was at the event in support of the Koepps. 
Former city finance officer Vanessa Row agrees, saying, “the community always comes together. It’s always been that way.”
The Keystone maintenance crew made one of a kind items for the silent auction, all created out of recycled materials. An antique wheelbarrow frame was turned into a planter, a picnic table that converts into two benches was created from scrap wood from Mount Rushmore and another planter was made out of an old propane tank. 
Przybylski, who is the supervisor of the department, says he is the idea man, while Joe Forgey is the fabricator.
Butch worked for the city for a short time and is described by many as  “quite the jokester.”
Several area businesses and residents donated items for the event as well, including overnight stays, fun packages, certificates for meals and clothing.
McLain said cash and checks were coming in as well. All totaled, the silent auction brought in $4,610.
The Koepps were speechless at the turnout and support. 
“It means everything,” Val said, who said she and Butch have lived in Keystone for 30 years. She didn’t tell Butch about the fundraiser until Saturday afternoon, afraid he would say no to the idea.
“I’m just overwhelmed they’re trying to do so much to help us,” Val said. “They’re always so good to everybody.”
For people who were unable to attend Bingo and want to help the Koepps the couple could use cash or gas cards, since they have many trips to take back to Sioux Falls for more medical care. 
Butch was almost put on hospice prior to the event. 
“We’re just not people to ask for help,” Val said. “We like to help others. There’s no words that sound great enough to thank them. I’m just overwhelmed with how much everybody cares.” 
Val said Butch has a  long road to go in his recovery that stems from a broken hip surgery that resulted in a brain bleed. It is too risky to do surgery again and he is being treated with medication. The couple have been married for 54 years. 
Anyone still wanting to contribute to the couple can contact Keystone City Hall.

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