- Friday, April 27, 2012, 7 p.m.
Steamboat Springs At Hayden’s Mission of Grace Baptist Church, Doug Zirkle has used his words to inspire and heal for 14 years.
The pastor said he’s not often at a loss for words to describe how he feels.
“But I am at a loss for words about this,” he said Wednesday about the free benefit concert Hayden community members have put together to raise funds for his kidney transplant.
Zirkle, who has kidney disease and is in need of a transplant, said he is not surprised by the act of kindness.
“It’s just such a neat thing, and you know, it doesn’t surprise me because Hayden has always been this kind of community that rallies together to help people out,” he said. “I’m really honored. I don’t know how else to put it.”
At 7 p.m. Friday, country and gospel singer Barry “The Bear” Ward and the Hayden Congregational Church Choir will take to the stage of the Hayden High School auditorium for the concert that was organized by community members. Donations will be accepted at the event to support Zirkle’s kidney transplant fund.
Hayden resident Don Hayes doesn’t know Zirkle well, but after he learned about the pastor’s disease last month, he made a few phone calls to put the concert together.
“I just hope this helps him,” Hayes said. “I know people are going to be entertained Friday night. (Barry) is a great Western singer, but he’s also one hell of a gospel entertainer. I just hope this concert helps Doug. That’s basically what it’s all about.”
Several Hayden community members rallied to support Zirkle after learning about his disease.
Organized fundraising efforts began after Mission of Grace church elder Kevin Kleckler started a drive to raise $25,000 for the pastor. He said Wednesday that church-sponsored taco lunches, bake sales and pie auctions along with $5,000 in community donations have brought the fundraising total to about $20,000. He added that the efforts will continue to benefit the man who long has served Hayden.
“They have given their life to the community,” Kleckler said about the Zirkle family. “It’s my honor and my privilege to be a part of this and to help a good friend.”
Meanwhile, Zirkle said he continues to wait patiently for a transplant.
“We have good days, and we have bad days. We’re hanging in there,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people look into ways they can help regarding the transplant, and that’s really encouraging and nice of people to do. It’s just something you have to be patient with.”
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com