To say Teddy and Fran Ridenhour are involved in their community is an understatement. They’ve always been there when their Hulbert, Okla., neighbors needed help – from raising a barn to raising money.
No surprise, the fraternal side of Modern Woodmen is what attracted them to the organization.
The couple first got involved with Modern Woodmen more than a decade ago. They helped with a fundraiser the local chapter was hosting for a cancer patient. They’ve been involved in dozens of Modern Woodmen fundraisers and other volunteer projects since then.
“You can’t beat neighbors and friends,” says Teddy. “It doesn’t matter the time of year. When you need it, they give.”
What goes around …
On June 2, 2012, Teddy put his neighbors and friends to the test.
He was riding his horse while working at the Tahlequah stockyard when the horse bucked him off. In the 50 years he’s been riding, he’s been bucked off horses many times without injury. This time, the impact swelled his spinal cord and cracked a bone in his neck.
After 105 days in the hospital, Teddy returned home in a wheelchair facing years of intense therapy.
… comes around
Some of the same people the Ridenhours helped in the past reciprocated. With the aid of Financial Representative Rob Dickinson and the local Modern Woodmen chapter, the community held another fundraiser – this time to benefit Teddy.
More than 1,200 friends, neighbors and complete strangers attended the dinner and auction. At one time, the line out the door was more than 200 feet long, despite the rain and 100-degree heat. In all, they raised more than $85,000, including a $2,500 match through Modern Woodmen’s Matching Fund Program.
“I was floored,” says Fran. “I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to do this for us.”
The Ridenhours used the money to construct a wheelchair-accessible therapy building next to their house. Many community volunteers helped work on the building, which Fran and Teddy now use as a temporary home.
The road ahead
With Fran at his side, the tenacious Teddy has made faster progress than first expected. He can eat finger foods by himself and get out of his wheelchair more easily. The distance he can travel with the aid of a walker is growing steadily.
“It’s slowly coming back,” says Fran.
The Ridenhours continue to volunteer with their Modern Woodmen chapter. They continue to live by the golden rule, although they find it much easier to give than receive.
“We don’t help people to be rewarded,” Fran says. “It’s just the right thing to do. We’re thankful we’ve been able to bless our community through Modern Woodmen.”
Teddy agrees. “It’s been hard to accept, but the support has been amazing.”