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Port Lavaca fundraiser to benefit Shriners burn hospital in Galveston

By JJ VELASQUEZ
April 13, 2010 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2010 at 11:13 p.m.


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IF YOU GO

WHAT: Benefit to support Shriners Hospitals for Children - Galveston Burn Center

WHERE: Rita Jo's Bayview, 1404 Broadway Ave., Port Lavaca

WHEN: Saturday, April 17, 11 a.m.; auction at 2 p.m.; entertainment by musician Casey Leeann from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

COST: Barbecue plates $7 each

PORT LAVACA - Darrell Baker used to collect money inside a can to support Shriners Hospitals for Children.

On Saturday, he and others in Port Lavaca will hold a fundraiser to support the hospital system's Galveston site, which shut down for a year after Hurricane Ike.

Now re-opened, the hospital is operating but with fewer beds and a smaller staff.

"That's what we're holding this benefit for is to get the hospital fully functioning," Baker said.

At full capacity, the center houses 30 patients. Staff is currently at two-thirds of the workers it had before the storm.

The hospital shut down in September 2008, mostly because of damage to its electrical system and economic constraints, said hospital spokeswoman Jo Ann Zuniga.

The hospital reopened in November.

Baker said he usually collects up to $1,500 collecting in front of Walmart, which he would do every year on July 4.

He hopes the fundraiser, which includes a plate sale and auction, will generate more donations.

Baker has been a "Shriner" for the last few years after visiting Shriners burn units in Houston and Dallas.

Some patients' burns are so extensive that they are left unrecognizable.

"But you look in their eyes, and there's hope in their eyes," Baker said.

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