DOBSON — On a day when the mercury is expected to stay in the 30s, Operation Katie organizers are hoping a barbecue meal will be a perfect dining option for area residents.
And while they’re chowing down on port-a-pit chicken, those patronizing an event Saturday at Central Surry Volunteer Fire Department in Dobson will be supporting another step toward the goal of building a handicapped-accessible home for a local student.
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day at the fire station, barbecue plates will be sold at $8 each for the project to aid the family of Katie Bledsoe. She is a senior at Surry Central High School who continues to suffer from the effects of a 1994 car accident.
“We’ve sold about 700 (advance) tickets already,” Anthony Kiger of Operation Katie said Wednesday, adding that about 300 extra plates will be available Saturday for walk-in orders requiring no tickets.
A similar port-a-pit event in November generated about $5,000 toward the ultimate fund-raising goal of $125,000. The fund, now stands at around $48,000.
“That’s pretty much what we’re on target to do this time as well,” added Kiger, who is part of a core group of about 10 Dobson-area residents spearheading Operation Katie. It originated from a Bible study group about two years ago and contains representatives of various churches who saw a need for the Bledsoe family and mobilized to help.
Though the Bledsoes now occupy a nice double-wide in the Fairview community, it is not suited to accommodate their disabled daughter. Katie suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident and an accompanying stroke affected the right side of her body. She now spends most of her time in a wheelchair that can’t even fit through the front door.
With Saturday’s barbecue fund-raiser shaping up as a successful event, it won’t be one of those “productions” in which no animals were harmed. Each plate will contain a half-chicken along with such such accessories as beans, coleslaw and bread. As was the case with November’s event, the food will be prepared by a professional supplier.
Only take-out plates will be available, and the Operation Katie group has taken steps to make the distribution as easy as possible.
“There will be a drive-through,” Kiger said of the fire station located at 611 S. Main St. in Dobson across from Surry Community College.
“We know it’s going to be freezing and people won’t even have to get out of their car.”
Even those who aren’t hungry can come by and make donations to the cause, and Operation Katie T-shirts will be sold Saturday. Katie and family members are expected to be at the fire station.
The Operation Katie group is happy with where the overall campaign stands now, at about 38 percent of the way toward its goal. Kiger said the team is to the point where it can start making firm plans for the home, to be constructed alongside the Bledsoes’ present residence, and hopes momentum continues to build as well.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.