Two fundraising events are being held this week in an effort to help Effingham County resident Chris Weiss who suffered extensive burns on 26 percent of his body — 18 percent of which were third degree — in an early morning July 2 explosion at Gulfstream.
Weiss has had three surgeries in the past three weeks at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta. According to a Web page dedicated to updating family and friends of Weiss’ condition, he’s expected to go home within a week.
His wife Holly has been staying at a hotel in Augusta so she could visit her husband during visitation hours, which are only three hours a day.
“It’s awful seeing the person you love hooked up to a machine,” said Holly Weiss, who works at St. Joseph/Candler hospitals.
She used her available vacation time, but that ran out. Several employees donated time in response. However, she’ s
worried now about what will happen when that time runs out.
“We live in a two-story house, and I’m not sure how he’s going to be able to get around,” she said. “We have a lot of uncertainties in our life right now.”
Friends and family members have continued to pray for the family. Some have also taken steps to get others to help.
The Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Pooler plans to collect money during Friday’s races —weather permitting — to assist the Weiss family. Management will have collection jars at all concession stands, their Finish Line Pub and The Grill. In addition, the drivers will conduct a helmet collection, walking in the stands to give everyone an opportunity to donate.
For the past two Fridays, rainy weather caused OSP to cancel the races. Chris Weiss was the 2007 rookie of the year in the 440s division.
For those who are not race fans but want to help out, Faulkville residents Crystal and Jason Dasher will hold a charity family cookout and yard sale to also raise funds for the Weiss family on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.
“Donations are wanted and needed,” said Crystal Dasher.
She said they are accepting donations for cooked and uncooked foods, specifically smoked Boston butts and any other kind of meat. This will be the third fundraiser the Dashers have put together in July for people in need. Normally they donate anywhere from 50 to 75 dinners to the Ronald McDonald House during the holidays to assist the families in residence.
The yard sale will run from 9-11 a.m. to give them an opportunity to prepare the meals. At 12:30, they will sell lunches for $10 per adult plate (13 years old and up) and $5 per child plate. Individuals will be allowed to prepare their own plate of food. All money earned will be given to the Weiss family, Crystal Dasher said.
“We have a lot of items to sell — plenty of clothes — but we will accept any other items that people want to give,” said Dasher. “We also need volunteers.”
Jason Dasher works with Chris at Unicco, a facilities maintenance management subcontractor out at Gulfstream.
For more information on how to donate or what to donate, visit the Creative Times Charities Web site at www.dasherstreasurebox.com.
For information on Chris Weiss’ recovery, visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/chrisweiss.