Traverse City Record-Eagle

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August 18, 2013

4-H auction at fair held deeper meaning

TRAVERSE CITY — Bob Boeve doesn't know Courtney Shively. For that matter, he doesn't know Noelle Pipoly, either.

But just a few words in a letter Courtney wrote to Boeve were all the oil and gas exploration company CEO needed to know.

Her gentle urging convinced him to organize a group of business owners and donors to bid for a special pig Aug. 8 at the 4-H Youth Livestock Auction at the Northwest Michigan Fair. And bid they did, in record amounts.

About a month ago, Boeve opened the note from Courtney, 14, a member of the Carousel 4-H Club. Written on a sheet of white paper, it was a plea that asked for Boeve to bid on a pig at the Northwest Michigan 4-H youth livestock auction. The note explained that Ginger the pig had been raised by the members of the club on behalf of their friend and club member, Christa Pipoly, who died in a Feb. 17 car crash that also killed her father, Dave.

The pig was a joint project taken on by the club's 16 members to honor Christa, a friend and member of the club.

"I think they just wanted to honor Christa and Dave," said Sherise Shively, Courtney's mother.

Shively said proceeds of the pig sale would be given to Christa's sister Noelle to help pay for her college education. Noelle Pipoly was in the wrecked vehicle, too, but survived. What should have been a short trip to church that Sunday morning quickly turned tragic and left the Kingsley High School junior a daughter without a father and killed her only sibling.

During the week following the wreck, the first days of high school she had missed in three years, Noelle Pipoly buried her 13-year-old sister and her father.

Her pain resonated with Boeve.

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