Six friends turned to one another to mourn the death of Wesley Hixson, a bicyclist whose body was found last month in a ravine near Lake Grapevine.
The friends, who graduated from Keller High School, knew Hixson and his wife, Shelby, and wanted to help the Keller widow and mother of two children, Preston, 5, and Karsyn, 3.
Their desire to help will be realized on Sunday when they host a fundraiser called Wes Fest in front of Keller City Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Parkway. The 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. fundraiser will feature several bands, games and a silent auction offering “fabulous donations from all over the area,” said Kristi Tucker one of the organizers.
In addition to Tucker, the organizers include Mallorie Simmons, Lindsey Waters, Kristin Gaca, Tiffany Cupp and Karin Mosley.
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On Facebook, an entry read: “Wes Fest is not only to celebrate a man who lived life to the fullest and loved adventure, but to raise money for his family and children. Please come out and help us make Wes Fest a huge success and enjoy a day of family, friends and music.”
Shelby Hixson said she and her husband, who graduated from Keller High School in 2002 and married nine years ago, had stayed in touch with many of their classmates, including the ones helping host the benefit.
But she admitted they had not stayed close, mainly due to the passage of time. Much of the Hixson’s time was devoted to family and her career as a nursing student and his as robotics and automation technician in Saginaw.
“You get busy with kids and life,” she said.
But they were there when she needed them most.
“It’s more than I ever would have hoped for,” Hixson said. “It’s amazing to see everyone Wes touched.”
A large crowd is expected. Family members will include her father, Joe Carter of Keller; Wes Hixson’s grandparents, Thomas and Barbara Hixson in Keller; his grandmother, Barbara McPherson — whose family was one of the largest dairy operators in Colleyville — his parents, Thomas and Tommie Hixson of Keller; and “tons and tons of aunts and uncles and cousins.”
Several businesses have aided the family, including So-Cal Tacos, Pickles BBQ & Icehouse, Chilis, Horns N Snouts BBQ, Kwik Kar of Watauga and Knobbies & Slicks Bike Shop.
Searchers found the body of Hixson, 30, in a ravine northeast of Twin Coves Marina at the lake. He was last seen by his riding partner heading off on a trail on the north shore of Lake Grapevine.
Hixson may have sustained a head injury in a crash that happened just before he rode away, Flower Mound police said.
In addition to a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter, hundreds of people joined the search, including officers on bicycles, all-terrain vehicles and watercraft.
Searchers came from Lewisville Police Department, the DPS, the Denton County Sheriff’s Department, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association, Search One Rescue, Texas Search and Rescue and community emergency response teams from Flower Mound and Denton County.
Tucker said she and others organizing the fundraiser also helped. The nurse said the organizers hope their efforts will make a difference.
“We know them and love them, but we would do this for everybody,” she said.