Guard giving program raises nearly $4,000 for family in need

Spc. Phillip Appleby rests with his son, Trevor, who was born ith hydranencephaly, a rare neurological condition in which the cerebral hemispheres of the brain are absent and replaced with sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid. A spagehtti dinner was held Feb. 23, 2013, at Coan Bapatist Church to raise support for Trevor and his family. (Courtesy Photo)

Spc. Phillip Appleby rests with his son, Trevor, who was born with hydranencephaly, a rare neurological condition in which the cerebral hemispheres of the brain are absent and replaced with sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid. A spaghetti dinner was held Feb. 23, 2013, at Coan Baptist Church to raise support for Trevor and his family. (Courtesy Photo)

SANDSTON, Va. – The Virginia National Guard Partners in Care Program, an initiative that links faith-based and non-profit organizations with Soldiers and Airmen in need, helped make possible a spaghetti dinner held Feb. 23, 2013, that raised more than $4,000 for a Virginia Guard Soldier in need. The congregation of Coan Baptist Church in Heathsville, Va. sponsored the event to help the family of Spc. Phillip Appleby whose son, Trevor, was born with a rare neurological condition.

The Partners in Care program was founded by the Chaplain Corps of the Maryland National Guard and has since spread to additional states. The program aims to help reduce stressors that may result in low resiliency among National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and brings together organizations and congregations that have volunteered or requested to support Virginia’s Guard families, according to Chaplain (Lt. Col.) J.D. Moore, the Virginia National Guard’s full-time support chaplain. The various partners involved offer a wide variety of support, including financial assistance, home repair and childcare, and are generally connected to service members in need of support through the Chaplain Corps.

“It provides resources to our National Guard personnel and their families that are hard-pressed,” said Moore. “It builds the Soldier, the family, the community, the commonwealth and the Virginia National Guard.”

Appleby and his family gained the attention of Partners in Care when a congregation member at Coan Baptist Church, a Partner in Care, heard about Trevor.

Trevor was born Oct. 31, 2012 with hydranencephaly, a rare neurological condition in which the cerebral hemispheres of the brain are absent and replaced with sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

“Basically, he doesn’t have a brain and there’s fluid where his brain should be,” explained Appleby, who is a generator mechanic in the Norfolk-based Company G, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “The doctor told us he might live a couple of days, if we were lucky. Trevor has defied the odds though – everything they said he wouldn’t do, he’s done 100% of the way.”

The congregation member asked Pastor Robert Lee Farmer, who heads Coan Baptist Church and who has served as a Chaplain in the Virginia Defense Force since 2007, how the church could help Trevor and his family.

“She mentioned that Trevor’s dad, Spc. Phillip Appleby, grew up here in Northumberland Country and was in the National Guard,” Farmer said. “At that point, I knew this would be a great way for our Partners in Care outreach to go to work.”

After brainstorming a few ways the congregation could help Trevor and his family, they settled on hosting a spaghetti dinner and a gospel music concert.

“When word got out into the community that this event was taking place, musicians from all around the community asked to participate,” Farmer said. “Our best count is that over 150 people participated in the event, allowing us to raise $3,700 that night. Since then, donations are still coming in by mail.”

Trevor, along with his mom, Meredith Holt, and Appleby were all able to attend the event.

“Trevor was the talk of the town for a while,” said Appleby of the event’s success. “We have over a thousand followers on our Facebook page, and a lot of people really enjoyed getting to actually meet him in person.”

The support from the community has meant a lot to Appleby and his family.

“The support for Meredith and I has been great,” he said. “We made it on our own for a while, but now to know that we have the support of not only our families, but our whole community helps a lot, to just make it through and to know that we have a system behind us, with whatever we have to face.”

To follow Trevor’s story, you can visit Trevor’s Facebook page, Travels with Trevor. Those interested in assisting Trevor and his family can contact Pastor Robert Lee Farmer at chaplainfarmer@gmail.com.


More on Partners in Care & the Appleby family:

Photos: Partners in Care Outreach to Trevor’s Family

Partners in Care initiative links faith-based and non-profit groups with Soldiers and Airmen in need