RICHVILLE — When Chase Klecker heard that his former high school teammate, U.S. Army Sgt. Travis Mills, was injured during his third tour of Afghanistan, he wanted to do something to show his support.
While many used ribbons as their preferred medium to honor Mills, Klecker and his father Matt Klecker reached for something a bit heavier: Stainless steel.
On Sunday, the Kleckers’ metal relief sculpture — inspired by and dedicated to Mills — will serve as something of a centerpiece for a benefit auction to support the Mills family. The roughly 3 1/2-foot by 3 1/2-foot sculpture is made entirely of stainless steel, and depicts an eagle flying in front of mountains. Klecker said he and his father chose the eagle, a patriotic symbol of strength and freedom, to represent Mills, while the mountains in the background represent the mountains of Afghanistan and a nest in the foreground represents Mills returning home.
Volunteers were busy Thursday evening preparing for the auction, which will include autographed sports memorabilia as well as framed autographed photos of actor Gary Sinise and Eminem and a book and CD autographed by Ted Nugent, along with hundreds of items for a silent auction and a bake sale.
The event kicks off at 2 p.m. with a program to honor Mills, followed by a performance by country music group Mandi Layne and The Lost Highway from 3 to 4 p.m. The auctions begin at 4, with both a silent and live auction planned. Event organizer Judy Adams said that in anticipation of a larger-than-normal crowd, attendees are asked to park their vehicles in the parking lot at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 3455 South Van Buren Road in Richville. The church parking lot is about a quarter mile southwest of the intersection of M-15 and M-46 on M-46. Shuttles will transport attendees from the church to the hall.
The suggested donation for the spaghetti dinner benefit are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-10 and children younger than 5 eat for free.