WELLINGTON, Kan. -- A south-central Kansas town is rallying around a 27-year-old man who is facing mounting medical bills after suffering a stroke.
Curtiss Metz of Wellington remains in a Wichita hospital. His sisters told KAKE News a blood clot formed by an infection in his heart traveled to his carotid artery, causing the stroke last month. Now, his hometown is stepping up help someone many say would be the first to help anybody else out.
Flyers and marquees all over Wellington carry well-wishes for Metz and his family. Those organizing the efforts to help the 27-year-old with the medical bills he will face said Tuesday they are just doing exactly what Metz would do for any of his neighbors.
"One of the hardest times in my life, Curtiss stepped up to the plate and it's just my time to pay it forward to him," said Lindsey Daugherty, a friend who has helped to organize some upcoming benefits.
Donations are already pouring into a benefit fund, there's a benefit dinner scheduled for March 22 at Wellington's Knights of Columbus hall and the owner of The Dore Gill and Bar is donating 10 percent of all money he takes in Thursday.
"When something like this happened, he'd be the first one to help, so it's natural for us to do the same for him," said Kip Etter, The Dore's owner.
The outpouring of support is no surprise to anyone who knows Metz.
"He's a familiar face," said Kara Sneed, another friend. "He jokes with everybody; gives everybody a hard time."
Metz's sisters said he is making progress in the hospital, but still has many obstacles to overcome. They said his personality leaves them no doubt he will recover.
"He's very stubborn," said Heidi Hyde, Metz's sister. "He's very strong-willed and I'm pretty confident he'll be able to do it."
Hyde and Metz's other sister, Amanda Craig, said they are grateful they and their brother grew up in a small, tight-knit community.
"Everybody always complains about small towns, but when somebody needs help, everybody pulls together," Craig said.