More than $10,000 was raised last Saturday for Alberton resident Joe Hanson during a benefit to help with his medical expenses. More than 100 people crowded into the community center to fill their plates with a potluck-style dinner and sat outside for a pleasant evening and listened to music by Dick Darne and friends.
As a long-time resident, Joe has been the town’s mayor several times, as well as having sat on the town council. He also ran the town dump, which he often referred to as a recycling center.
“If you take something, leave something for someone else,” he often said.
Inside, silent auction items lined the room while Montana PBS producers Gus Chambers and William Marcus gave a short presentation dedicated to Joe. Over the years, Alberton has become a backdrop for several scenes used in their productions — thanks in large part to Joe’s help. These scenes were shown to the crowd, along with a segment of the television series “Backroads of Montana,” which featured Joe several years ago.
After the presentation, a live auction began where nearly 100 items were on the block, including an old motorcycle and a remote control airplane, along with lawn and living room furniture. There were also paintings, photographs, quilts and other items made by talented local artisans.
Many expressed their gratitude for Joe, who has helped countless people over the years. Whether is fixing a car, a water leak, or just a helping hand, Joe — along with his “team ready“ crew — were always there for those in need.
He expressed gratitude and was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community. The dump was closed by the Department of Environmental Quality two years ago, and has had several items Joe needed to clean up as a result of violations. That includes removing tires and other waste materials. Joe said the stress of the ordeal caused many of his medical issues.