Spencer helps raise $20,000 for Newton family

Jackie and Brent “Ben” Newtion

A fundraiser and the family benefiting from her collection of $20,000 are speechless and grateful after a community stepped up to help the victims of Webster County’s first COVID-19 death.

After word broke of Brent “Ben” Newton’s passing last Wednesday, a Facebook fundraiser initiated by Stephanie Spencer kept soaring past its own expectations.

“We hit a grand in about 30 minutes,” Spencer said. “I was like ‘whoa.'”

She thought the effort, with an initial goal of $10,000, might manage to raise about two or three grand. But within 12 hours, it managed to raise 10 times that–$20,435, to be exact, from a total of 554 donors.

Per person, that’s an average donation of almost $37.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Spencer said. “I didn’t expect it to go that far.”

In addition to the Facebook fundraiser, an account in Ben’s honor at Great Western Bank has ballooned to about $1,500.

After the Newtons became family to the former Ja-Mar Drive-In Restaurant employee, Spencer knew she had to do something to help Jackie Newton out during a difficult time.

“They are both very generous, so quick to help someone out in need,” she said.

During her time working alongside Jackie Newton at Ja-Mar, she quickly came to know of Ben Newton’s sense of humor, generosity and love of people, which are the qualities she’ll miss the most about him.

“This community is just something, man,” Jackie Newton said, speechless at how quickly and intensely the community poured out to help at one of her family’s darkest hours. “I’d like to thank everyone, but I don’t know how to express the words.”

The generosity of her community took her breath away almost as much as the respiratory virus. Perhaps that reaction is thanks enough.

Spencer said the amount will be enough to provide a proper funeral, help with outstanding bills accumulated while they were both in the hospital and get Jackie Newton back on her feet after she recovers.

Jackie Newton was released from UnityPoint Health–Trinity Regional Medical Center last Friday after over two weeks of battling COVID-19. Ben and Jackie Newton were admitted together.

The family is planning to honor Ben’s life later in June, with hopes that the funeral can be less restrictive with attendance.


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