On Saturday evening, over 300 friends and family rallied around Dave and Becky Kepler at The Bridge Community Center for a benefit to help defray medical costs as Dave battles Stage 4 inoperative lung cancer.
Kicking off the event, Gov. Terry Branstad made a surprise visit and voiced the sentiments of the crowd.
"I appreciate all that Dave and Becky have done for me," the governor told the assembly. "They are very special people and we want to show how much we support Dave through our thoughts and our prayers".
Gov. Terry Branstad was one of 300 friends and family attending a benefit supper for Dave Kepler. Kepler and his wife Becky have long been active in the Iowa Republican Party.
In addition to a potato bar, a silent auction was also held during the event for Dave Kepler held Saturday night at The Bridge.
Through the years, the Keplers have been active in Iowa and national Republican Party campaigns. Mingling among friends and family were state dignitaries Dist. 5 Sen. Stewart Iverson, House Dist. 48 Rep. Rob Bacon and House Dist. 49 Rep. Dave Deyoe as well as Jamie Johnson of the GOP State Central Committee.
A silent auction included jewelry, artwork, craftwork, a signed basketball from the Iowa State University 2014 Big 12 Championship Basketball Team, a Iowa memorial photograph by US Rep. Steve King, signed copies of Calista Gingrich's children's books "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Land of the Pilgrim's Pride", an artisan bakery cake, several jewelry sets, Iowa Hawkeye themed items and many handmade quilts.
The doors opened at 4 p.m. and there was a steady stream of guests arriving throughout the evening, said Church of Christ Pastor Chard Halbach who served as doorman and greeter.
Pat and Don Nokes organized the event and estimated over 240 potatoes were prepared for the free will offering potato bar, said Pat. Dozens of community volunteers served at the benefit, provided goods for the bake sale and donated silent auction items, she said.
"It has been an amazing day," said Dave who was overjoyed by the many wellwishers. "You never know how your life touches someone else".
"We certainly appreciated all the workers, donated items and folks that came out to support Dave and his journey with cancer," said Becky Kepler on Sunday morning. "The benefit made wonderful memories for him, (me) and our children and will be talked about by us for days to come".
The Keplers expressed their gratitude for all the people who helped to make the event a success.
"Thanks to everyone who had a hand in the benefit, especially Pat and Don Nokes and all their helpers," said Becky.
Dave will begin a new round of chemotherapy treatments in Fort Dodge on Tuesday.