Frankfort fundraiser: Marine a ‘hero’ who needs a helping hand
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent July 2, 2014 1:30PM
Ken Tank (from left); Sean Hensen, president of the Lester Weber Memorial Chapter of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club; Steve Hartless, assistant manager at Hines VA Hospital's Fisher House; James Gomez, Xavier Gutierrez and Tom McNiel attend the presentation of a $4,000 check to Hartless in 2013 from members of the motorcycle club. | Supplied photo
If you go ...
What: Fundraiser for Marine Staff Sgt. Rocky Loera
When: 2 to 8 p.m. July 12
Where: Ryan’s Pub, 7928 Lincoln Highway, Frankfort
Info: Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For advance tickets, mail check or money order made out to LMCI to P.O. Box 95497, Palatine, IL 60095-9997. Include a mailing address and an email address for confirmation purposes.
Etc.: To donate items for the silent auction/raffles, contact James Gomez at (815) 603-2658.
Updated: July 3, 2014 2:13AM
Members of the Lester Weber Memorial Chapter of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club will lend a helping hand to a fellow Marine because “sometimes even a hero needs a helping hand,” according to organizers of a fundraiser.
The event to support Staff Sgt. Rocky Loera, a Marine who was critically injured during a routine training exercise, will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. July 12 at Ryan’s Pub, 7928 Lincoln Highway, Frankfort.
Loera was hit by a vehicle that ran a red light on Jan. 29, 2013, while he was on duty for Recruiting Station Chicago. Loera was rushed to Loyola University Medical Center, where he underwent two brain surgeries before being placed in an induced coma.
Loera’s wife, Brenda, and their sons Joe, 10, and Nick, 9, hoped for the best, knowing the odds were against him. Family and friends, especially his fellow Marines, have rallied around the family to offer support during Loera’s roller-coaster recovery.
James “Gomie” Gomez, judge adjutant of the Lester Weber Memorial Chapter of the Leathernecks — which serves Will and Cook counties and wherever there is a need, Gomez said — has set a goal to help the Loeras with costs that go beyond medical bills.
The Loeras, who eventually would like to return to their home in California, will have to retrofit their house to accommodate Rocky Loera’s special needs, an expense not covered by insurance, Gomez said.
“Basically we want to assist them with financial assistance, and our goal this year is actually to raise $20,000,” Gomez said.
It’s a tall order, but not too much for the Marines to take on, organizers hope. Gomez said last year’s fundraiser yielded about $15,000.
The event will be catered by Chef Klaus’ Bier Stube, of Frankfort, and will include live music by the Neighborhood Blues Band. Items for the raffles and silent auction include autographed pictures of Blackhawks players, tickets to professional sports games, restaurant gift cards, comedy club tickets, admission to Chicago museums and sites, golf passes, movie theater passes, power tools, liquor gift baskets and Harley-Davidson items, among others, Gomez said.
A 50/50 raffle also will be held.
Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
The Leathernecks Motorcycle Club is an international organization of active-duty and former Marines and Navy corpsmen. Gomez said the Lester Weber Memorial Chapter of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club is active in the Cook and Will county areas, contributing $4,000 last year to the Fisher House of Hines Veterans Hospital and assisting the Heart of the Marines organization.
Their next project is to establish scholarships for the sons and daughters of veterans in the Chicago area, he said.
Gomez said although he believes Americans “absolutely” owe it to veterans to offer help when needed, as a veteran himself and a former recruiter, he knows veterans do not expect anything for their service to their country.
“Rocky and his family weren’t expecting anything. Brenda was overwhelmed with the fact that we want to do this for them,” Gomez said. “Veterans don’t expect to be helped, but if people enjoy their freedom, then this is one way of thanking them or showing their appreciation.”