By Maria Wyllie
Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

BIG SKY – The Big Sky community expressed overwhelming support at a benefit for Krista Mach on Sept. 26, held at Choppers Grub and Pub.

Mach, who has lived in Big Sky for 26 years, suffered a massive stroke on Aug. 18, leaving her in a serious medical state. Her contributions to the Big Sky community over the years are countless, and she was named the 2013 Big Sky Community Member of the Year for her tireless dedication toward helping others.

“In 27 years of living in Big Sky, I’ve never witnessed such widespread, unconditional community support of a person and event,” said Mary Wheeler, who has been friends with Mach for 25 years and been involved in many Big Sky events and fundraisers over the years. “We had longtime locals and newer residents; small businesses and large resorts; donors of time and energy; and donors of food, location, auction items and money, all united in a universal heartfelt effort for a dear person and friend.”

Organized in just two weeks, the Krista Mach Benefit featured a silent auction; a presentation by family and friends; live music by Kent Johnson and DJ Tiny; and a buffet-style dinner with food donated by Choppers, the Riverhouse, The Corral, Olive B’s, Blue Moon Bakery, and Buck’s T -4.

“The benefit … was a big success and [I] want to thank all who came and donated items, time and money,” wrote Mach’s husband JD on his Facebook page. “I was over whelmed with the number of people who attended and can’t thank all of you enough for all that you did for Krista.”

More than 100 silent auction items were donated to the benefit, with items ranging from jewelry to fine wines and art, gift certificates at various local businesses, and snowmobile rentals and timeshares.

As of press time on Oct. 1, deposits from the fundraiser total $92,513.

The Yellowstone Club, Sam Byrne and Cross Harbor Capital Partners committed $40,000 within 24 hours of learning the news of Mach’s condition. Since then, they have engaged the support of other Yellowstone Club members who have made additional donations, according to Damon Rao, partner of the PRG Group.

“The speed and size of their donation is a great demonstration of their care and commitment to this community,” Rao said.

The PRG Group, Mach’s employer, also made a generous contribution, giving more than $10,000 to the fund.

Bar proceeds, including a donation jar on the bar top, came to $3,313. The remaining funds include personal donations, auction item sales, and proceeds from dinner and raffle ticket sales. Clare Nixon, who works at First Security Bank and is handling donations from the event, says auction item proceeds are still coming in.

Since Mach’s hospitalization, community members have been continually looking for ways to help raise funds to support her expensive medical recovery.

Another fundraiser was held on Aug. 28 at the Broken Spoke Bar and Grill where raffle ticket sales and half of the bar proceeds were donated to Mach’s fund. Proceeds from raffle tickets and concessions at the Big Sky Softball Tournament in early September were also donated to the Krista Mach Fund – Mach is a longtime member of the Country Market team.

Mach was recently transferred from the Billings Advanced Care Hospital to Denver, Colo.’s Craig Hospital, a world-renowned rehabilitation facility specializing in the neurorehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

Donations can be made to the Krista Mach Fund by visiting her online donation page at fundrazr.com, or by mailing checks directly to the bank, at the following address:

First Security Bank

Krista Mach Fund

P.O. Box 160330

Big Sky, MT 59716-0330

Cards and gifts can be mailed to Mach at the following address:

Craig Hospital

Krista Mach, 2 West

3425 S. Clarkson St.

Englewood, CO 80113