The Helping One Woman (HOW) organization held a fundraiser on Tuesday night to benefit Susan Gladding. She’s the widow of former vice principal, Gavin Gladding, who was killed in a hit and run crash back in September.
The Clovis Chapter of HOW raised a record amount of nearly $10,000 for Susan. One-hundred percent of the donations went straight to the mother of two. However, the dinner wasn’t just about the money – it was also a way for hundreds of people to come out and show their support for Susan and the Gladding Family.
“This is just absolutely incredible,” said Susan.
Susan’s life was turned upside down on September 16, when her husband Gavin was killed by a hit and run driver. The driver, 18-year old Rogelio Alvarez, was sentenced on Monday to three years in prison.
Alicia Montoya is Susan’s friend who sponsored her to be Tuesday night’s recipient. She said, “Susan is such an amazing person, and she is beautiful inside and out and strong, so it’s heartbreaking to see her struggle moment to moment with the loss of her amazing husband.”
Montoya hoped for one night, the pain could be put aside for some laughter and fun.
“Everyone here is better because we are a part of you,” cried Montoya.
Per the Helping One Woman mission, Clovis Chapter leader Tara Guentz said guests donated a minimum of ten dollars to go straight to Susan and her two young children.
“This is just the HOW way that we do it, and I think that it’s a testament to who she is, who Gavin is, what the community is now missing from the tragedy that happened,” stated Guentz.
Moving forward from that tragedy, for this one night, it was all about Susan.
She ended, “I just thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart, love and support that you have shown my family, me and my children, and the people standing next to me right now it’s just overwhelming and so wonderful.”
The criminal side of the Gladding case is not over. On Wednesday morning, the two other co-defendants in the case are expected to be in court.