Courtesy photo
The Derbidge family pictured with several members of the Ely Rotary Club.

Special to the Times 

When you think of living in a small town, you know most your neighbors, some you’ve grown up with, and for many they’ve lived their whole lives in White Pine County. And, when one one person falls on tough times, the heart of this town exceeds the square mileage of this entire county, and the Derbidge family can attest to that.

The Ely Rotary club coordinated and organized a fundraiser for Jay Derbidge’s family.  Jay was diagnosed with epitheloid sarcoma cancer and the Rotary club wanted to reach out and help ease the family with the financial dilemmas that arise when a severe medical issue occurs.  The event was sold out within a week, and people were still calling the day of the event to try to purchase a ticket.  It was a sit down dinner, with raffle prizes, in addition to a silent and open auction.  The event came together, and at times was overwhelming with the amount of generosity that this county poured into the event.  Shane Bybee who was one of the coordinators for the event had people contacting him daily to inquire how they could contribute. Donation items were being dropped off daily, and checks were being mailed in.  The night of the event, Bybee said “see how much giving came from the hearts of the people in this community? People ask why do you live out in the middle of nowhere, and I tell them, once you meet these people you won’t want to live anywhere else”.

After all of the required expenses were taken care of, the Rotary Club presented Jay Derbidge and his wife Gretchen with a check for $76,271.38. Bybee presented the check to the family and said “”we embarked on a journey here a couple of months ago to help Jay with his fight, I have such pride in our community when I look at what we thought we were setting out to do and what we set out to do. I am so proud of our Rotary club, I’ve never seen a group of people work so hard. With the help of this incredible community we live in, with such a generous spirit, and my fellow Rotarians, it is with great pride that we present to Jay and Derbidge a check in the amount of $76,271.38 and we hope this helps to take the burden off your minds so you can concentrate on this fight.”

Jay Derbidge said “Many know I was born and raised in Ely. My parents were building a shop at their house when I was about 5 years old. My mom told me that at the time I said to make sure the shop would fit my Peterbilt because I was never leaving Ely. Well after leaving for college I still knew that I wanted to come back to this great community. I am not sure anywhere else where the citizens would come out like that for a fellow person going through what I am.”

Derbidge also wanted to thank Shane Bybee and the Ely Rotary Club, “my family is going through a tough time right now and there are no words I can use to describe how we feel about the prayers and support from so many, it’s crazy. Thank you, thank you, is all I can say.”