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Fundraiser benefits the Hudgins family

Jonathan A. Hudgins was a man who made many friends during his lifetime, and the positive impact he had on a significant number of people in the Franklin community was on display July 16 during a fundraiser held to benefit his family.

Jonathan A. Hudgins

The fundraiser took place at the Subway located on Armory Drive, a location owned by Doug Eitel, who was good friends with Hudgins.

Eitel, who came up with the idea for the fundraiser as a way to help Hudgins’ family, indicated the support for Hudgins from friends in the community was so great it led to an unprecedented day at the Subway location, translating into significant financial support for Hudgins’ family.

“As far as total sales, yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s probably the best day we’ve ever had,” said Eitel, who has been a Subway franchisee for 30 years.

The fundraiser ran from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and he said they sold 400 subs.

Pabs Peanut Company had a table set up selling peanut brittle and was sold out by around 4:30 p.m.

“He had brought 100 containers of that peanut brittle, and we got a lot of donations right there,” Eitel said.

What motivated Eitel to arrange the event was the quality of man Hudgins was — as a husband to his wife, Robin, as a father to his daughters, Mary and Allison, and as a friend to Eitel and so many others.

Doug Eitel

“Jonathan and I, we went to preschool together, all the way up,” Eitel said. “We’re both 60 years old, graduated Franklin High School at the same time, and I was just super close to his family. His kids call me Uncle Doug.”

Hudgins, who was born at Raiford Hospital in downtown Franklin in 1960, passed away June 30 from cancer.

“He got liver cancer and was diagnosed about two months ago and just went downhill fast,” Eitel said. “He was in the hospital in Richmond for about a month, and everybody expected him to come home and have at least a little time, but it just went real fast, just crushed his family, all his friends. He had a ton of friends in town.”

As was evident July 16, Hudgins’ character is continuing to have a positive impact on his family in tangible ways as his many friends in the community came out in support, and they did so July 11 as well for his memorial service at Franklin Baptist Church.

“There was probably 300 people at his funeral,” Eitel said. “He was the life of the party wherever he went, real outgoing guy and just fun to be around.”

Hudgins’ obituary noted, “Jonathan made friends instantly and often in his life. He could converse easily with people from all walks of life; people liked Jonathan and Jonathan liked people. There was no valley too deep from which he could not climb, nor any ladder too high from which he could not descend to offer a hand to help another person upwards.”

Signs promoting the fundraiser July 16 lined Armory Drive on the day, provided with help from Heave Ho Promos.

Eitel said people who were not able to make it to Subway on the day of the fundraiser were still wanting to donate to the family. He indicated they can do so by writing a check to Robin Hudgins and mailing it to Subway, P.O. Box 670, Suffolk, VA 23439.