The family of Brent Carpenter said they are grateful to those in Cache Valley who donated money and goods to their beloved brother.
“It was just unbelievable,” said Brent’s older sister, Linda Carpenter. “It has meant everything.”
And the money has come at an important time in Brent’s life. He will soon be relocating to an assisted living center and is in need of an important surgery.
A few days after Brent wandered into a local insurance office with a black eye, family members became concerned about the number of times he had fallen. After taking their brother to a doctor they learned Brent has a cataract and needs surgery.
“He is losing his eye sight,” said Carpenter. “They are going to do surgery on his eye. He has already lost sight in one eye and they are going to try and improve sight in the other eye.”
The surgery is scheduled in Salt Lake City on March 7th.
“We are so grateful to all the people in Cache Valley who donated to the GoFundMe account,” said Carpenter. “It’s going to change Brent’s life for the better.”
It’s been almost five weeks since Brent walked into the office of local insurance agent Josh Barnett sporting a black eye and asking for money.
The black eye was the result of a recent fall.
Barnett put $20 in Brent’s pocket, took a selfie and then started a GoFundMe account that has raised more than $38,000. Cash and other donations have totaled an additional $12,000.
“The whole thing has been freaking awesome,” said Barnett.
Carpenter has been riding his bike on the streets of Cache Valley for decades, smiling, waving and honking his horn. He is well known and loved by everyone he comes in contact with, underscored by dozens of comments left on the GoFundMe page.
Marci Campbell said, “I will never forget a wave and a smile from him on a difficult day of mine. He provided hope through his infectious happy spirit. Bless you!”
Stacy Smart commented, “We love Brent. We especially enjoy seeing him at USU Homecoming. The parade is not complete until we see him, his smile and that wave. Thanks for letting all of us be a part of helping him!”
Barnett wants those who generously donated to know that 100 percent of the money raised was transferred to Brent’s two sisters, Linda and Jeanne Smith.
Carpenter said the money has been deposited into a bank account and the funds will be used for Brent’s living expenses. The two sisters are getting ready to move Brent into an assisted living center sometime next week.
“Now Brent can go to a better place,” Carpenter said. “He’s going to need more help. It’s just a good time to put him where he’ll be cared for more often.”
Barnett said he, too, has reflected on the generosity of the people of Cache Valley and after spending time with Brent realized, “you don’t need a million followers on social media to change the world. You just need to be KIND.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated the money that has been raised would be used for Carpenter’s eye surgery. The money will be used for Carpenter’s new living expenses, only.