The Brinkerhoff Family Benefit Live Auction, emceed by Duke Cox with assistance by his brother, Valley Girls Basketball coach Dustin, and Jeremy Chamberlain fielding some 20 online bids, was held throughout the Valley-Milford game in Orderville on February 5.    

Eric, beloved member of the Long Valley community, passed last December 11 at age 70. His wife Collene still resides at the home, where they raised their six children. Their eldest, daughter Tanya, is married to Ricky Rose, the Athletic Director at Milford High School. Thus, the sports connection.

Betty Chamberlain, one of the organizers of the event, addressed its inception. “Ultimately, a year or so ago, I thought ‘the boys needed an opportunity to show their service.’ These boys do a lot in this community that goes unrecognized, and I thought this would be a perfect venue for the boys to serve. They got together, and as a group started talking about the possible recipients of their benefit, and Eric Brinkerhoff kept surfacing for multiple reasons. The boys knew him; he mentored young men for decades. He has a legacy of service. He lived a life full of service ... serving missions, and serving in our community.

“And even when Eric was sick, when he was diagnosed and would run into these boys, he was always so positive. Encouraging!  I think he motivated them to persevere. And emotionally, it was hard for the boys to see him deteriorate so fast. I think ultimately, it teaches us all to live a life full of love and kindness, and service, no matter what we’re going through. And Eric was a perfect example of that.”

“I’ve known Eric since I was just real little growing up in Glendale,” recalls her son Conner. “He was my Scoutmaster for awhile, so I got to know him real good that way. And he was an amazing person and an amazing role model in my life.”

As Layton Spencer remembers, “He was always helping me. Like I was missing a Merit Badge for my Eagle Project, and he helped me get that before I was able to get my Eagle. So, he was always willing to help and contribute to the community. He was someone who was always willing to serve. He was always happy and smiling.”

From the Live Auction donations, ranging from the 28 Nosler gun, whole beef cuts, a variety of two-night lodging stays, a personal guided-tour, quilts, a log porch swing, and the team’s service, $13,600 was raised. The Silent Auction gathered $3,308. From the 28 Nosler, alumni and others, $2,960.  T-Shirts made approximately $1,120. And the Bake Sale, miscellaneous unrecorded. All total, $20,988!