The Story Behind Jack's Barnyard Bash

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Story Behind Jack's Barnyard Bash On Saturday, June 15, Chef Brett Smith of Zolo Grill in Boulder, along with a crew of other talented local chefs, will host Jack's Barnyard Bash, an out-of-this-world party and farm-to-table dinner, at Isabelle Farms. The Autism Society of Boulder County and the families we serve in the counties of Boulder and Broomfield are the lucky beneficiaries of this fundraiser. Every dollar generated that afternoon will go to ASBC's Jack Ferrigno Send a Kid to Camp grant program, which will allow more than 30 families to send their children who have autism to therapeutic summer camps.

Brett wanted to let everyone in our community know his connection to autism and how this annual fundraising dinner, created in 2012, came into being. Below is an open letter that he asked us to share:

"We are officially ready to roll on selling tickets for our 2nd annual benefit for the Autism Society of Boulder County. I would like to try and explain why this event is important to me and hopefully help make it more important to you as well. 

Jack Ferrigno [after whom the camp grants are named] was the son of my great friend John. I worked for John for several years on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and I consider him a mentor and a very influential person in my life. His son Jack was a beautiful little boy who struggled with autism and a seizure disorder, among other health issues. About six years ago, when he was eight years old, Jack suffered complications from a seizure and tragically passed away. 

Erik Rollings was our sous chef here at Zolo for three years. Erik is one of the most talented and hardest working people I have ever been around. His son, Spencer, struggles with autism as well. Erik is not the type of guy to complain, ever, about anything. But it always seemed that in summertime things were more difficult for him and his family. When we talked about it, he explained how his son Spencer had a much harder time in the summer. He was out of school and did not have the structure that school provided him. Erik would try and get him into camps, but found he often had to pay extra because Spencer needed additional attention or camps could not accept him because they were not qualified to provide him care. And just finding a qualified babysitter was incredibly difficult.

So with these two families as our inspiration, we have created the Jack Ferrigno Send a Kid to Camp Grant. Working with the Autism Society, we guarantee that 100 percent of all the funds we raise will go to send area youth to summer camps. This is an incredible relief to the families we help. Many of them are struggling financially because of exorbitant medical bills and they are worried about how to provide care for their children. The grants also give these kids a chance to do something they might not otherwise experience. Last year some kids rode horses, went rafting, learned to swim or just got a chance to play with other kids.

So this is where you come into play. You can directly help us make a difference for these kids and their families. Every single event ticket sold, every prize-drawing ticket sold, helps these families! I thank you for your support and your help in making this event an incredible success.

thank you so much,
Brett (Smitty) Smith"

We are grateful beyond words to Brett Smith for his passion, generosity and commitment to our families.
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