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A benefit supper for the Maronde family is planned for Sunday, May 22, from 5-7 p.m. at the Rex Theatre in Orchard. They will be serving pulled pork. The suggested donation is $8 per plate. Anyone who would like to donate to food costs can contact TJ's Market.
The last two weeks have been a roller-coaster ride for two Clearwater-Orchard teachers thanks to a life-threatening illness. But the one consistency Brian and Molly Maronde have experienced is support from their communities.
Both Orchard and Clearwater have rallied around the family in their time of need. From financial assistance to help moving, the Marondes have been overwhelmed by the outpour of support.
To be closer to family, the Marondes, who have two small children, resigned their positions at the school and planned a move to York. Despite knowing they are leaving the community, neither Orchard nor Clearwater has turned its back on them. They are still offering support.
On Sunday, May 1, Brian went to Antelope Memorial Hospital in Neligh after suffering severe headaches. The condition of the Clearwater-Orchard science teacher and coach worsened quickly. His wife, Molly, who is a special education teacher at Clearwater-Orchard, took him once again to the clinic the next day.
Molly said that from the start, doctors suspected meningitis, which tests seemed to support. In need of specialized medical care, Brian was referred to Bryan Health in Lincoln. He was air-lifted on Tuesday, May 3.
Since then, the family has experienced a roller-coaster.
"It started off as acute viral meningitis, then he developed a post-infection virus," Molly said. “Then, he came down with Guillian-Barre."
Guillian-Barre Syndrome is a disease which causes the antibodies in your immune system to attack the nerves, causing temporary paralysis and weakness.
"It pretty much affected the lower part of his body," Molly said. "He couldn’t move his legs for a couple days."
But on Monday, May 16, things looked brighter.
"He’s really improved by leaps and bounds. Yesterday (Sunday, May 15), he could barely move his legs, but today he walked a little,” Molly said.
Brian and Molly have both played vital roles with the students. So much that last Thursday, the fourth-grade Clearwater students stood outside the school and sold crafts as a part of its annual economic project. But this year, the project took a different turn because it became a fundraiser for the Maronde family.
Fourth-grade teacher Darcy Metschke said students designed, created, marketed and sold the crafts, which included small ornaments, coasters and magnets. Students had been working on their crafts for several weeks and used the theme "Cyclone Strong."
"This year students chose the Clearwater Park Board (to receive the funds). But when Brian got sick, they wanted to help out, so we decided to split the funds," Metschke said.
The students raised $169.49 during their economics project, half of that will be donated to the Maronde family.
“Several people made generous donations just to give to the Marondes (in the donation jar), so they will have more coming,” said Metschke excitedly.
On The Move
While Brian can barely move, his family must. It's time for the family to pack up and leave Clearwater, although the timing couldn't be worse.
Not surprising, the community has again come through. On Tuesday morning, students, teachers and parents could be seen at the Maronde house packing boxes and moving furniture into trailers.
Jeffrey Maronde, Brian's brother from St. Joseph, Missouri, was shocked when he pulled up to the house and saw all of people waiting to help.
He expected two or three people. Instead, there were dozens of volunteers outside the house.
"It's pretty cool to come up here and see all of these people waiting for us, and more and more people kept showing up. It's awesome," he said. "With everything Brian and Molly are going through right now, they need all of the help they can get, so it's really cool to see the community come together and help them out."
Jeffrey and Molly's father, Kurt Hinrichs, both traveled to Clearwater and oversaw the move. Jeffrey said it's been difficult watching his brother struggle but he knows Brian will recover fully.
"It's crazy to think that my 30-year-old brother is struggling to walk," he said. "It's tough to see. There's no way to prepare for that, and it's insane to think that 2 weeks ago he was doing all right and now we have to help him with everything. He's a strong kid, and he'll bounce back and do everything he can to get back to how he was."
Carhart Lumber donated the use of an enclosed trailer to help with the move and many others helped pack and carry out furniture and household items on Tuesday.
Clearwater-Orchard Activities Director Shelly Mlnarik said it was important to everyone to help the family because they have been so supportive of the school and communities.
"The community came together to help Brian and Molly and the kids because we have a deep respect for them," Mlnarik said. "They've spent so much time nurturing our kids and their faith is carrying them through. This is something we could do to help pay back all of the thing they've done for us."
Molly said Brian will continue the battle toward recovery. It will take time and determination.
"Our hope is that tomorrow he’ll have his last treatment for Guillian-Barre, and then he’ll start acute rehab with Bryan West for his walking until he’s more stable," she said. "We’re hoping he’ll do the for about a week or so and then some outpatient rehab. There isn’t really a timeline; it could take months."
For the Maronde family, these past few weeks have been long and tiring. But their students and community are never far from their mind.
"The hardest part has been not being with our students for the past couple weeks," Molly said. "We’ve really been blessed by this community."
Benefit Planned Sunday
A benefit supper is planned for Sunday, May 22, at the Rex Theatre in Orchard from 5-7 p.m. The suggested donation is $8 per plate. If anyone wants to contribute to food costs, they can contact TJ's Market in Orchard.
Fourth-Grade Entrepreneurial Project
Volunteers Move Marondes