American Legion raises $2,700-plus for Ryan Smith

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

American Legion raises $2,700-plus for Ryan SmithAmerican Legion Post 684 was jumping last Saturday night as its fundraiser for Ryan Smith went into full swing.

Music by local band Amarillo kept the place lively as attendees dined on spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salads and desserts. All proceeds from the event went to Smith’s family to help with his medical care.

“It was awesome! We made a total of $2,759 from the dinner, donations and raffle proceeds,” said Sue Henderson, who teamed with Tracey Garrett to organize the event. “Every dime of the proceeds is going to Ryan.”

Close to 250 dinners were served, with meatballs donated by Tender Cuts and garlic bread donated by Albertson’s.

Amarillo bandmembers donated their services to the cause, and the American Legion donated the use of the building. Members of the Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary donated food, prizes and labor.

Also included were a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing. A donation jar was filled during the event.

Smith, 21, was seriously injured in an auto accident on Brown Road Jan. 6, and has been hospitalized in Lancaster since then. His parents have maintained a constant vigil and have a Facebook page to post bulletins about his condition, at “Rally-for-Ryan/146788 742139723.” He has already en-dured multiple surgeries and is facing more.

“My heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out to hear Amarillo and eat and have a good time and help Ryan,” said Henderson.

“Amarillo rocks!” said Garrett. “Everything went well. When we have an emergency, we take care of our own and we all come together! We had a team of cooks, and so many people came out! I’ve heard a lot of compliments on the food. It was all donated.”

Ryan’s grandfather, Frank Howell, an Inyokern resident since 1968, was in attendance.

“This town has come alive. I am so impressed with the outpouring of support!” said Howell.

Apropos of his grandson’s current medical condition, Howell said, “Ryan’s doing better. They were going to put him in rehab on Friday, but he still has his tracheotomy. He’s been breathing on his own for the last four days, but has had to have oxygen on standby just in case.

“He got his voice back two days ago. He went 24 or 25 days without being able to speak. He’s looking much better — his upper-arm structure is getting better. He’s starting to get a small grip in his hand.”

Among the donations for the event were gift certificates provided by Vicky Vorwerk, Kryptic Sports, Gayle McCormick and Kristy’s Restaurant.

State Farm donated a gift back, and the Legion’s Auxiliary made big, beautiful gift baskets. Mike Oppy and Fury’s made monetary donations, as did many in attendance.

Among those helping with cooking, setup and cleanup were Viola Owens, Lisa Gamboa, Jimmie Jackson, Kenny Mascher and Laurel Ortega.

Donations are still being accepted, and can be made through Henderson at 760-608-2535 or at any Navy Federal Credit Union to the Ryan Smith Recovery Fund.

Story First Published: 2013-02-06