She simply wanted to continue her father’s legacy of outreach and kindness.
So when Columbus resident Aubree Skinner and family and friends raised nearly $7,500 last year with a grill and some grit — and divided the funds among Christian ministries Love Chapel, Feed My Starving Children and Operation Christmas Child in memory of father Tim Tuell — she felt a real sense of joy.
“My family is committed to this every year,” Skinner said.
Which means that the Second Annual Tim Tuell Cookout will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 26 at Sandy Hook United Methodist Church, 1610 Taylor Road in Columbus. Skinner calls the crux of the cookout — a hot dog or hamburger, chips and a drink for $5 — “the cheapest meal in Columbus.” Homemade baked goods and live music from Dale Sechrest and Jacob Kennedy also are part of the fundraiser.
One new beneficiary has been added: Beloved, a local nonprofit supplying vulnerable children who reside in foster care with a duffel bag – a Beloved Bag — while they are caught up in the crisis of a traumatic transition. Each Beloved Bag is stocked with items designed to meet urgent physical and emotional needs, with room for personal belongings.
Tuell, a 61-year-old Columbus native and lifelong Sandy Hook member, died Aug. 24, 2021, 11 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Skinner and her family lost a huge part of their world. He also was a helping hand for many, volunteering at church as a reader and more, at Love Chapel food pantry, packing meals for the Feed My Starving Children outreach, and packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, among other activities.
“He truly had a servant’s heart,” Skinner said.
He taught his daughter to have the same. So she and her husband, Logan, and a group of volunteers are planning to feed a few hundred people again. Admittedly, her emotions are everywhere about now, as they would be for anyone still wrestling with elements of grief that arise two years later without much warning.
One of her recent Facebook posts serves as one example:
“I have such a love/hate relationship with the month of August. So many memories are starting to flood back into my mind. The bad ones, the scary ones, the sad ones, the last ones that include my Dad.
“But in the same breath, it’s the month of his event, the month we bless others in his name, and remember him even more deeply.
“My amazing Dad lived an amazing life and I am going to try my whole life to keep his memory alive.”
Tuell himself was something of a gregariously giving grillmaster, cooking for a range of charities through the years in his time at Sandy Hook. Skinner and her mom, Deana Tuell, were alongside him during many of those benefits.
Deana, in fact, made an insightfully direct comment about the cookout last year, and it still fits this time around: “This is a way to play out his love.”
And others are catching the vision. Locally, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is providing 500 soft drinks and water. There will be a raffle for gift baskets.
Obviously, Skinner is hoping to sell everything they prepare for the day. But last year, organizers donated leftovers to the local Brighter Days emergency shelter and to Ethan’s Table, an outreach to the struggling.
“I just want to do everything I can to follow the mission,” she said.
And, at the same time, to follow in her father’s footsteps.
About the cookout
What: Second Annual Tim Tuell Benefit Cookout.
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 26.
Where: Sandy Hook United Methodist Church, 1610 Taylor Road in Columbus.
Why: To raise money for nonprofits Love Chapel, Feed My Starving Children, Operation Christmas Child, and Beloved.
Donations: Can be made by messaging the Facebook page for Annual Tim Tuell Benefit Cookout and following the details.