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Community honors memory of teen by helping others

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A beloved son whose life was tragically cut short by a car accident the month after his 18th birthday is the inspiration for the second annual Argyle Cares, a special day for the community to join together to support area charities by sharing their blessings with others less fortunate.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 26th, it will be easy for everyone to participate because there are several ways to give. The day encompasses a food drive, clothing & household items drive and blood drive.

“We started Argyle Cares last year in memory of our son, Braden Michael Spratlen, on what would have been his 19th birthday, September 13, 2009,” said Braden’s mother, Susan.

“Since Braden was such a loving young man whose care and concern for others touched the lives of so many, we decided a day of community caring, sharing and giving would be a great way to honor him in September each year.”

Braden, the son of Susan and Kevin Spratlen, and the brother of Trey, 16, a sophomore at Argyle High School, and Brock, a 2006 graduate of Argyle High School and a 2010 graduate of A & M University, had played trumpet in the Argyle High School Band.  After his accident, the band dedicated their 2008 marching show to him, winning the state UIL marching championship with many of the members marching with Braden’s initials written on their fingers.  

Point Bank on Hwy 377 in Argyle will be the site of the Argyle Cares event where anyone can deliver donations of food, personal care items, and new and gently used clothing and household items. Like last year, donations will again benefit the families served by the Argyle Food Pantry, Visions of DBC and Christian Community Action.

Carter BloodCare will be on hand that Sunday afternoon to accept life-giving blood donations. There are a limited number of appointments for blood donors, so Spratlen asks that donors contact them soon to reserve a time.

“We hope everyone will consider participating by donating or volunteering to help. We need volunteers to assist with the food, clothing and household items drives,” said Spratlen, adding that coordinators can be reached at susan@argylecares.org or 940-464-0430.

Braden, described as quick to smile and quick-witted as well, attended Argyle schools from the time he was in the 6th grade when the family moved to Argyle. And last year, a tremendous number of people were involved in honoring his memory, from elementary students who took home bags to fill, to high school students and boy scouts who distributed bags and flyers to the main neighborhoods in Argyle, to dads who unloaded and organized donations.  Local businesses and churches will again put up posters and offer drop-off locations this year during the week before the event.

“On Sunday last year, we started off with the community room full of food already donated through the schools and local businesses.  The students at Hilltop Elementary donated about 300 bags of food all by themselves!” Spratlen remarked.

A flurry of activity ensued when throughout the day of last year’s event, the Spratlen family and many volunteers accepted donations of food and clothing, sorted the food for the food pantries, made multiple trips throughout the day as the community room overflowed with food, and loaded the charity vans full of gently used and new clothing and household items. 

“We could never have imagined the response to our first Argyle Cares day!  We collected more than 5,000 pounds of food, or enough for about 4,000 meals, and about 5 trucks/trailers full of clothing and other donations. And, we had 28 blood donors make life-giving donations through the Carter BloodCare bus on site.  All despite the fact that it rained on and off all day that day!” Spratlen said.

“We are so grateful for and humbled by the Argyle community.  Their care and concern has been such a blessing to us, and we could never thank them enough for helping us honor Braden with such strong support for Argyle Cares. So many people helped in so many different ways, and the generosity of the donors was simply amazing.  Awe inspiring.  The community definitely proved that Argyle Cares, without a doubt”

For more information on this year’s event, visit www.argylecares.org.

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