Proceeds from the combination “poker shoot” and bake-sale event, held at Big Woods Goods in Canton, were earmarked to help Hannah Faith Collett’s family pay medical bills she’s accrued while she’s been in an Atlanta hospital.
The day-long event kicked off at 11 a.m., and by 12:45 p.m., more than 20 people had laid their $15 down to buy one of the targets, printed with poker cards on the backside, hoping to make the best five-card hand. Several of the well-wishers bought multiple shots for the grand prize: a shotgun.
Early in the morning, Cherokee GOP Chairman Rick Davies led the field with two pair, aces and nines. Soon, though, he was overtaken by state Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) who shot a flush. But the winner wasn’t expected to be decided until 8 p.m., when the event ended.
Besides officials, many of the shooters were co-workers of Hannah’s stepfather, David Harlacher, who is a Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputy.
Others were total strangers to the family.
“I’ve heard about it on TV,” said Rodney Smith of Woodstock. “That’s all. I don’t care if I win or not, and if I did win, I’d tell them to give the gun money to them. Every little bit helps.”
Canton resident Dee Doyle also didn’t seem too concerned with winning. He joked with women from the local gun club hosting the event — Armed American Ladies — after he came up with the lowly hand of a pair of fives.
Doyle said he also knew very little about Hannah.
“Don’t have to,” he said. “They said it was for charity and it was a young lady in the hospital. That’s all I needed.”
The simple facts of the story were also enough for the Armed American Ladies. But several members of the group have a connection to Hannah in they once worked with her mother, Melissa Harlacher, when she was a nurse at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, said Joni Harper Gommo, leader of the group.
Gommo said the mother has been tirelessly keeping watch of her daughter’s condition, even though Harlacher is also expecting another child and only recently married Hannah’s stepfather.
“Every time I talk about it, I get choked up,” Gommo said as gunshots rang out from the range behind her. “I don’t know how she’s dealing with this. She just got married long ago, and she’s expecting. She has not left her bedside — not once in three weeks.”
She said the parents and Hannah need all the help they can get to keep going and fight her illness.
Bob Alo, whose wife is in the gun club, felt the same way.
“That’s a young kid,” he said as he hung around the event Friday. “We need to do what we can. Hopefully, this organization will raise a lot of money. It’s rough enough being a kid.”