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Help for Hometown Hero

Benefit raises thousands for Pilot Point police officer

Lori Powell initially said she had no words for the hundreds of people who attended a benefit for her husband, Pilot Point police Sgt. Robert Powell, on Sunday.

“I never imagined that there would be a turnout like this,” she said, grateful for the number of people who love and respect her husband.

“My husband would give his last dime for anyone in his community and is always willing to help anyone,” Lori said. “It’s nice that it’s coming around … that everyone would want to help him.”

Powell, who has been with the police department for 16 years, was diagnosed with stage 4 B-cell Lymphoma in June and took leave from the department. The benefit, held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church’s Parish Hall, sought to raise money for Powell’s everyday expenses. Hundreds of people attended the event, which included live and silent auctions and a raffle.

“He’s about to start his third round of chemo, which is tomorrow,” Lori said, referring to Monday. “He will have a total of six treatments [by] the end. And then, hopefully, have a stem cell transplant.”

Powell has been awarded Officer of the Year twice, the last time being 2018. He served in the U.S. Army from 1989-97 and is a veteran of the Gulf War. He has lived in Pilot Point for 17 years with Lori and their three children: Kaylee Kipp, 23, Cory, 23, and Zak, 18.

Cory Powell, who is in the Air Force and stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, attended the benefit and said the turnout for the benefit was “amazing.” Sgt. Powell did not attend the benefit because of his health.

“This community is the best community ever,” Cory said.

Cory said lots of friends and family have visited his dad.

“Family from out of state came,” he said. “I know friends hours away, they’ve come to see him. He’s had a lot of support.”

Lori said people have been bringing dinners to the Powell household.

“The support this town has given us is just unbelievable,” Lori said.

She said she appreciates the support and prayers.

“We couldn’t live in a better town,” she said.

The auctions raised $40,000 “and some change.” Plus, there was money was raised from the barbecue meal, at $10 a head, said Jim Clater, one of the organizers from the event. The event fed around 550 people.

Volunteers and supporters wore shirts with words “Team Powell: Lime Green is the New Black.” Lime green denotes the ribbon color of lymphoma. Other cancers have their colors, such as breast cancer, pink; brain cancer, gray; and melanoma, black. A band called 2FarNorth played at the event.

The silent auction featured everything from gift certificates to food, and the live auction had such items as firearms and an easy chair that came with a beverage compartment.

Powell has medical insurance, but he is expected to be off work for a long time, Clater told the Post-Signal.

Randy Pels, one of the other organizers of the event, enjoyed seeing the large turnout. He worked with a benefit for his niece, Christy Dunlap, in June, and it also was a “huge success,” he said.

“We have lots of auction items, and if everybody stays and spends some money, we’ll have a tremendous success, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Pels said Sunday before the live auction.

Barry Pennell, school resource officer for the Pilot Point ISD and a colleague of Powell, called Powell a good, dependable coworker. Pennell’s wife, Linda, and Lori work at the Denton State Supported Living Center.

“It’s good turnout,” Pennell said. “Lots of items. Hopefully we can raise lots of money to help him out in this trying time.”

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