Community Members Give Rohrer Family Lots of Love and Support at Caroling Event

Dec 20, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Sitting in one of the pews inside the old Manahawkin Baptist Church on Dec. 17, Harold Fargo gently gripped his chin as he gazed toward the platform in the back of the church, from where the sweet sound of a group of Southern Regional High School students echoed throughout the single-room building.

“I just knew there would be some caroling going on,” said Fargo, the brother of Kelly Rohrer, whose family was the beneficiary of the “Caroling for the Rohrer Family” fundraiser event, which ultimately became an impromptu concert and caroling session led by a dozen or so students. “I wasn’t expecting a group of kids from the choir to be here, sharing such beautiful music of their own. I didn’t realize I was going to be blessed so much. This was very uplifting for our whole family, especially my sister.”

On Nov. 28, the Rohrers lost husband and father Kevin, when he passed away following an accident in which he fell from a ladder while working. Two weeks ago, community members rallied around the family to put up Christmas lights and an angel on their house on Outrigger Lane in the Ocean Acres section of Manahawkin.

But for two hours on Sunday afternoon, the caroling event organized by family friends Angela Randall, Christine Kenduck and Sari McGovern was more a call for financial assistance for the Rohrers. About 100 people stopped by to put something in the wrapping-paper-decorated donations box and sing along with whoever was singing at the moment – most of the time it was the students who are part of Southern’s select choir.

“This was about bringing people together and getting behind a family in our community that needs to be lifted up right now,” said Reagan White, a junior at Southern. “As we were singing, you could feel the sense of community in the room. It was nice to be able to lift everybody’s spirits.”

While there were plenty of beautiful moments to go around, one of the better ones was when a particular choirmate literally dragged Madison Rohrer – Kevin and Kelly’s daughter and part of several choir groups at Southern – out of a pew and led her to the back of the church to sing with the crew. She barely sat down the rest of the time she was in the building.

“All the support we’ve received has changed my perspective about our community,” Madison said. “I always knew it was a supportive community, but I never really knew how much until now. Getting up there and singing with my friends is what I love to do, and it makes everything so much better. I’m never going to forget this.”

Kelly said she had not been in the old church prior to Sunday, and the atmosphere created by the music was calm and soothing.

“We had a lot of people here, showing us how much they care,” she said. “It’s almost like the entire town is part of our extended family. But it was so nice to see Madison get up there and sing with her friends. It was nice to see her smiling. She needed that.”

Randall was pleased with the turnout, saying that “if nothing else, it was an afternoon for Kelly and her children to just have some enjoyment during a hard time.”

Still, it seemed Kelly’s brother, who lives in Toms River, was the most touched by what he witnessed and heard.

“I just wanted to be here with my sister,” he said. “But this means a lot to me, that there are so many people in the community around her, willing to help in so many ways. Seeing my sister surrounded by so many loving people is very touching, and I know it’s all from God. I mean, look at all these young kids sacrificing their time on a Sunday, and all these other people coming by to support my sister and her kids. It’s very moving, and I thank God for all of them.”

Anybody who couldn’t make the event and still wants to help out with a donation may call Angela Randall at 609-713-2818, or contribute to the GoFundMe started by Harold Fargo at

— David Biggy

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