BROCTON - Nearly a year after Damon Janes sustained a fatal head injury during a Westfield-Brocton football game, the community will come together to honor his memory. The Damon Janes Memorial Event will be held Sunday from noon-9 p.m. at the Nickel Plate Depot, 131 Central Ave., Brocton. This is the second year a benefit has been held for Damon.
"When we had the benefit last year, at the end of the night we had already pretty much committed to making this a yearly thing because it was such a tragedy that hit so close to home to so many people. So many people his age are involved in sports. I guess we take it for granted that nothing is going to happen to them. Something this tragic did; it was a reality check for so many people," said Chris Sausaman, event volunteer.
The benefit will feature a chicken barbecue dinner from noon-5 p.m., with tickets $10 for adults and $7 for children under 12 and senior citizens. A motorcycle run will take place with registration starting at 10:30 a.m. The run, which travels to Sinclairville, Maple Springs and Westfield before returning to Brocton, will leave the Nickel Plate Depot at noon. Registration is $15 for a single rider and $25 for double riders. Registration includes dinner and a memorial bandana.
Members of the Brocton and Westfield communities are pictured during a candlelight vigil held for Damon Janes in 2013.
P-J file photo
Sausaman said by having a event like this, Damon's memory is kept alive. The event, he said, will also be a reminder that safety needs to be a top priority for school athletics, ultimately leading to the prevention of similar tragedies from happening in the future.
"We just want it to be a day of celebration and family and friends getting together to remember Damon," Sausaman said. "Damon was a kid that was very full of life. He was involved in so many things. That is one common thread that his friends and his family talk about - what an amazing kid he was. He had a unique personality, he made people laugh. He was just involved in so much. Just the fact he was such full of life person and his life was cut so short it makes everyone really think about how fragile life can be."
Live music will be played by Derek Davis & the Tasty Groove during a CD release party, The Mockingbirds and 10 Minutes and Counting. There will be a 50/50 drawing, a bounce house, a dunk tank, children's activities and a raffle for a pit bike. The bike is on display now at the Nickel Plate Depot and tickets can be purchased now or on Sunday. The benefit will also feature pit bike races at 4 p.m., sponsored by 3 Seas Recreation. Registration is $10 and will begin one hour prior to the race. Anyone with a pit bike - a smaller dirt bike - is welcome to race.
"It's a little track. It's just a fun event because Damon was into dirt bikes," Julie Fortner, an event coordinator and Nickel Plate Depot owner, said.
All proceeds will benefit a memorial scholarship to be set up by Damon's parents at the Brocton and Westfield school districts.