"I don't think people understand how much it means to the family," said Beal's wife, Jennie Peterson. "There really are no words."
The Tyler Beal Foundation is set up through the First Republic Bank in Danville. About $30,000 has been raised so far, through individual donations and a fundraiser benefit at Meenar.
"We have people coming in all the time," said Paresh Shah, the owner of Meenar. "Tyler's very well known. He's been in the area a long time. His personality - everyone likes him."
The heart attack occurred shortly before Thanksgiving. It resulted in major complications to the brain and sent Beal, 39, into intensive care, where he was in a coma until recently.
But friends say Beal's condition is improving. He was recently moved from Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center to a rehabilitation clinic in San Leandro.
Beal is speaking now - slowly recounting memories, said Peterson. She said he still doesn't know who she is, but she tells him every day.
"It's hard," she said. "We're focusing on the little progressions."
Though Beal is insured through work, the medical expenses are considerable, coming to about $300 a day.
Peterson said thanks to the fund, she's been able to spend as much time as possible at the hospital, which has made a "huge difference."
In December a fundraiser was held at Meenar that started at noon and lasted until 2 a.m. The benefit included a silent auction, and many local businesses helped out by donating goods and services such as jewelry and dinners for two.
Meenar "regulars" chipped in, too, bringing in items from home to be auctioned off. Half of the bar's proceeds from the day went to the fund, Shah said.
"Until we had his benefit I never realized how many people one person can touch in so many ways," said Peterson.
Matthew Stalbird, a barista at Starbucks on Hartz Avenue, called Beal "one of the VIPs of the town."
The fund will continue to help support Beal's family while he is in rehabilitation; Shah said he doesn't know how long that will be.
"We have a long way to go," Peterson said, adding, "We have a lot of positive energy, a lot of positive outlooks."
To donate to the Tyler Beal Foundation, visit or call Meenar at 349 Hartz Ave., 838-1186; or First Republic Bank at 680 Hartz Ave., 820-1777. You can also donate via PayPal account, sent to email@example.com.
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