Corey Mineard was reluctantly preparing to sell one of his guitars last week to cover his rent.
The Baraboo musician and guitar teacher had been dealing with health issues for several years that recently landed him in the hospital. Mineard was diagnosed with a staph infection, which forced him to miss significant work at Baraboo Music. Bills were piling up, and from his hospital bed Mineard knew he had to do something to make ends meet.
The guitar player of more than 30 years asked his boss, Baraboo Music owner Andy Johnson, to put one of his instruments up for sale.
“I stopped in the day I got out of the hospital, and I said to Andy, ‘Can you put my guitar up on the wall because I need to sell it,’” Mineard said. “The first of the month was coming, and I was thinking about paying bills.”
The guitar was an Epiphone Sheraton that had been given to Mineard by his former boss, Jim Dickey, who owns Little Village Café. Mineard said he initially was drawn to the instrument because it’s a semi-hollow body variation of a Gibson guitar that was played by his influences B.B. King, Freddy King and John Lee Hooker. About a year ago, Mineard agreed to buy the guitar from Dickey. But after hearing him play it live, Dickey had other ideas.
“Jim came over to me and he said, ‘I tell you what, just keep the guitar,’” Mineard said. “Rather than taking money for it, he just gave me the guitar.”
Mineard said the thought of selling the gifted instrument was painful, but he was in a bind.
Johnson posted to Baraboo Music’s Facebook page Thursday night offering to sell the instrument in support of Mineard and his medical expenses for $400. Within hours of posting, Johnson said he received messages from more than 10 people who offered to buy the guitar and donate it back to Mineard.
Johnson said Mineard often used the guitar to teach his 25 to 30 students during lessons each week. Johnson said he believes Mineard’s compassion and dedication to his students were factors in the outpouring of support.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why people reacted the way that they did when they saw that he needed help,” he said. “They appreciate seeing someone so passionate about music.”
Johnson said several people were waiting for Baraboo Music to open Friday morning to purchase and donate the guitar back to Mineard. Johnson said its official buyer wishes to remain anonymous. Since then, more donations have been sent to Mineard and an account on GoFundMe.com was set up by a parent of one of his guitar students.
“The love and support has been eye-opening,” Mineard said. “I just want to say that I am grateful and thankful to everybody for the love and support. I’m overwhelmed — I don’t even have words for it.”
Since it was created, the online fundraiser has exceeded its goal of $3,000 by more than $100.
“He’s a humble guy who lives a simple life, and he’s an all-around good person,” said Gretchen Pointon, who created the GoFundMe account. “I’m really happy that we’re in a community where we can still help each other out.”