LAKEWOOD - Friends and family of Roger Vaillancourt will be hosting a benefit to help his family with medical expenses after a tragic injury on Christmas Eve left the North Harmony resident a paraplegic.
"Roger makes friends wherever he goes," said an event organizer. None of the event organizers would like to be acknowledged by name. Instead, they want the focus of the entire event to be on Vaillancourt.
On Christmas Eve, Vaillancourt fell while on the job at a work site, and suffered a severe spinal cord injury, which has left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Immediately following the accident, a group consisting of 100 people identified themselves as "Friends of Vaillancourt Construction." Subsequently, the friends of Vaillancourt established a handful of fundraisers following the accident, with the culmination of those fundraisers occurring Sunday.
Two events have been held to date with major prizes donated by the House of Television and contractor Chris Keefe. The Mayville Community Bible Church hosted a benefit on March 2, and the Pine Creek Creations of Ashville donated the resources needed to create embroidered hoodies and hats that said "friends of Vaillancourt Construction" as a fundraiser.
Sunday's event at the Lakewood Legion, which begins at 1 p.m. and runs to 7 p.m., will feature live music, food and giveaways.
The musical acts Cross Reference, Antics, Jackson Rohm, Bill Ward and Amanda Barton, and Rock-a-Honey will all perform for guests' entertainment. Additionally, Rock-a-Honey will be providing the sound system for the music.
Music begins at 1 p.m. and wraps up at 5 p.m.
Dinner will be prepared by Mark and Nick Andriaccio and Vinnie Majchrzak. Featured will be beef on weck, Italian chicken, rigatoni, salad and dessert, which was donated by Ruby Tuesday. Snacks and soft drinks are included.
"We'll be the sixth band at the fundraiser," said the chefs. "We're going to rock and roll in the kitchen and serve up some really great food."
At the event, guests will have the opportunity to win prizes.
The door prize is a freezer full of food donated by Farm Fresh Foods. Included amongst the prizes available in the Chinese Auction will be gift baskets and cards, as well as larger prizes such as a lawn mower and generator donated by Zahm & Matson and Chautauqua Brick.
And though Vaillancourt is unable to attend the benefit, since he is still recovering in Pittsburgh from his accident, he has agreed to Skype with guests at the benefit.
The friends of Vaillancourt Construction encourage everyone to share a good time with them on Sunday. Tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event, or can be purchased in advance from Farm Fresh Foods in Jamestown and Altered States at Stow Ferry and Carpenter Pringle Road. Admission is $15 and will include food, entertainment and one chance to win the door prize.
"Roger always gave a smile, positive attitude and helping hand to those he came in contact with," said a friend. "His friends invite the community to share some smiles, make new friends and lend a helping hand."