SOLDIERS GROVE - Longtime rural Soldiers Grove residents, Rick and Becky Salmon, will be the focus of a fundraising benefit planned for Saturday, April 9 at the Soldiers Grove American Legion. The benefit will be held to help offset financial issues the two have experienced due to medical issues.
In December, while travelling back from LaCrosse for her first cancer consultation, Rick and Becky were involved in a head-on crash on Highway 14, near Coon Valley. The two required extrication from their totaled vehicle, and the injuries to Rick’s arm required two surgeries. Becky had recently been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer, and has since been undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Neither has been able to work since the accident in December.
“For now, Mom is alright and needs her rest, so please don’t flood her with messages or calls,” daughter KayeLee June Salmon said. “Dad also has a long road ahead of him to recovery, with the need for lots of physical therapy.”
Many in the community are aware of the many years of service Becky has given as President of the Ocooch Mountain Rescue Squad. Through her work there, she has helped countless members of the community.
“A true good leader does not put themselves above others, but rather understands everyone’s contributions. They listen, ask questions, and show respect and genuine appreciation for all team members,” retired rescue service team member Larry McCarn said of Becky Salmon’s leadership style. “A good leader is in effect a good mentor, coach, and a problem solver, sharing knowledge, advice, resources and support. A good leader knows how to delegate and how to be flexible, and must be willing to adapt to sudden changes such as floods and a pandemic.
“A valuable trait to being a good leader is empathy, not to be confused with sympathy. Although sympathy is a valuable tool, it usually falls in line with pity, where empathy is putting yourself in someone’s shoes and walking alongside them during times of sorrow.
“Although a good leader can be pulled in many different directions, they must always be a positive influence to guide the team. They must show honesty, integrity, be self-confident and always follow the rules the state puts before us.”
“Who is a good leader? Rebecca Salmon.” McCarn said. “Becky has been the leader for Ocooch Mountain Rescue for 15 years. All this while balancing home, family, Girl Scouts, and a job that has her on call at all hours of the day and night.”
Becky is also known for her work with the Passages shelter. The shelter provides refuge for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence, along with a host of other support services.
“I have worked with Becky Salmon for years, at Passages. She has been serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault for the past 12 years, and has always worked behind the scenes,” Passages board member Kim Mindham said. “She is the one to take a client to shelter or to the ER. She is the one who brings them food and furniture and coats for their kids. She helps them file restraining orders and goes to court with them, as a support through what may be the most difficult time in their life.”
Mindham, who recently resigned her place on the Passages board to help cover some of Becky’s work explained that Salmon’s clients know her well, trust her fully, and are all expressing great concern for what she is going through right now.
“The Passages board and staff would like everyone to know what she has done for the survivors in Crawford, Vernon and Richland counties,” Mindham said. “She has saved lives, many times over, and that's not something you can ever put enough value on.”
Rick Salmon has worked at Star Valley Flowers in rural Soldiers Grove for years, performing a variety of jobs there.
“I am so sorry to hear about the health issues facing Rick and Becky,” Star Valley Flowers owner John Zehrer said. “I have known them both for many years, and I hope and pray for a speedy recovery for both of them.”
Zehrer said that visitors to the farm often remark on how beautiful it is.
“It’s not me keeping it that way, but rather workers like Rick and the entire crew,” Zehrer said. “Rick is a hard worker, and I can rely on him to do anything that needs doing, from mowing to rebuilding a wagon to making maple syrup.”
Zehrer says that Rick and Becky have contributed so much to the community, and “he hopes the community will step up and give them a hand.”
Currrently, Rick and Becky’s daughter, KayeLee June Salmon, and her two siblings Nate Gander and Shannon Russell, are working with others in the community to plan and hold the benefit. A silent auction is planned, and people with items to donate can drop them off with Soldiers Grove Village Clerk Kaitlynn Ott at the Soldiers Grove Village Office during normal business hours, or reach out for drop off information at email@example.com.
“We are holding this benefit in hopes of relieving some of the burden and stress my Mom and Dad are experiencing, so they can focus on treatment and healing,” KayeLee said.
At the benefit, there will be an auction, basket raffles and other games, t-shirt sales, baked good sales, food, drinks, a DJ, and as much fun and good will as can be jammed into one day.
Monetary donations can also be sent directly to Royal Bank at 114 Highway 171 East, Gays Mills, WI 54631. Checks should be made out to ‘Rick and Becky Salmon,’ and donors are asked “please DO NOT write donation in the memo.”“Lets Help TEAM R & B!,” event organizers said. “No one in this community fights alone!”