ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) — The Angola community came together to raise money for a business after storm damage destroyed everything they had built.
In a flash of lighting, Eric Erman’s livelihood literally went up in flames.
“Horror, you know, terror,” said Erman. “I had some customers cars in there. And most of those cars have major sentimental meaning to them and pretty much my whole world was burning down. Spent probably a quarter of my life out there working in that old barn, fixing cars.”
A physical loss, and a financial one likely to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the face of rebuilding Erman’s life’s work, O’Reilly store manager Lawrence Monarch and his wife organized a benefit to help Ermen rebuild his business, and the donations came pouring in.
“It kind of just blew up, like I had 100 shares a day for a flyer,” Monarch said. “We went from there, like gotten donations from local businesses like Local Farmers State Bank, we had kale custom designs, which is powder coating, we had striking custom rods, just every little small business round, you can think of pretty much came together donated.”
He said the high turnout can be explained in a word: community.
“Car people always come together when car people need each other,”said Monarch. “Somebody needed something from the car coming in, and they all showed up. I mean, we’re a small community. So every word of mouth gets out fast.”
Erman is blown away by his community’s generosity.
“Honestly, I had no idea that there would be this many people here that this many cars would show up and that I had this many people that knew me and cared about me,” Erman said. “This town pulls together, it takes care of itself. The love the outpouring, the support the cards, people stopping by the house. Steuben County’s amazing we’re truly blessed to live in this town.”