Fighting for the Pingle family |

Fighting for the Pingle family

Rifle High School senior Garrett Robinson led the effort to help raise money for assistant principal and his family

Rifle High School senior Garrett Robinson, right, shows off the shirt he has is selling to raise money for Assistant Principal Jacob Pingle to help with expenses as Pingle’s wife battles cancer. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)

Rifle High school senior Garrett Robinson didn’t hesitate at all when asked if he had any ideas to help out a member of the RHS family.

During homecoming this year Robinson, the student body vice president, was approached by teacher and student council advisor Jenny Peed about ways the students could help support Assistant Principal and fellow student council advisor Jacob Pingle, whose wife, Serene, is battling breast cancer. 

“I told her OK, I would think about it, and I decided we should do a T-shirt sale,” Robinson said.

Working with the booster club and the T-shirt company that designs apparel for the school, they came up with a design they all liked.

Robinson said they ordered 200 shirts, and so far they have sold close to 100 of them at $15 a piece, with the help of his mom, Jennifer Robinson, who works for the district office, and Rifle Police Sgt. Kirk Wilson.

“Sergeant Wilson has been coming up here to fill in for our resource officer, and offered to buy one,” Robinson said.

Wilson took it back to the police department, and Robinson said it was kind of a domino effect and everybody at the department wanted one.,

“It’s been an awesome effect. That was my goal to have local school officials wanting them, and creating a chain reaction as people saw others wearing them around town,” Robinson said.

“Sergeant Wilson has helped out a lot selling our shirts. A lot of people are just donating now, which is awesome.”

Robinson hopes to raise at least $2,000, all of which will go to the Pingle family.

The idea and the shirts remained a secret to Jacob Pingle until one day he was called to the lunchroom by Principal John Arledge and noticed Garrett selling T-shirts.

“I actually had no idea all of this was going on,” Jacob Pingle said.

“I’ve just been trying to balance everything that is going on at home with everything that is going on here.”

Staff members tipped off Jacob Pingle that Garrett had really spearheaded the whole T-shirt venture. 

“They turned out great, and I can’t say how much it means to me,” Pingle said. “To feel the support of somebody who is all of 17 years old, to care about me and my family is truly a humbling experience, and it has just led to a gratitude and appreciation of who he is. I do and will respect Garrett for the rest of my life.”

Pingle said through everything he has been trying to balance and juggle, it definitely has thrown their lives out of balance. 

“All of our normal routines have been thrown off, and so trying to adjust for all of that isn’t easy,” Pingle said.

“Whether it had been one shirt or a bunch of shirts any bit of help in that regard, helps me to be able to not stress about the financial burden on us — it allows me to focus my attention on the emotional support I need to provide my wife and kids through all of this.”

Robinson said he plans to continue to sell the T-shirts until they sell them all, including this Saturday at Rifle’s state football playoff game.

“It’s provided a wonderful perspective on how loving and embracing this community can be,” Pingle said.

Garrett said if people are interested in donating or buying a shirt they can contact Rifle High School and let them know they would like to buy a student council breast cancer shirt that benefits the Pingle family.

Robinson is thankful for the booster club, student council and the Rifle community for helping out.

He said if there is still a demand after they are gone he would order more.

“The more, the better for the Pingle family, because cancer is a tough and expensive battle to fight,” Robinson said.

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