A sizeable check was written Saturday morning thanks to a fundraiser event held in July.
Founder of Save Our Shriners – Joe Bates – presented a check for $8,533 to the Shriners Hospital on Saturday morning. Local Shriners and SOS Bash volunteers met at Shady’s at 10 a.m. Saturday and Jimmy Smith – Chief Rabban of the Newberry Shrine – was present to accept the donation on behalf of the Shriners Hospital.
“We want to let the public know local people can help,” Smith said. “It takes a lot to run the hospitals.”
The Potentate’s Gold Leaf Award was also presented to Shady’s owner Curtis Smith for playing an instrumental part in the successful event.
The particular cause is one close to Bates’ heart, as he was once a Shriners Hospital patient.
At age 13, Bates was the victim of an explosion due to the ignition of gas fumes by a water heater pilot light. Bates suffered burns on 90 percent of his body, and was not expected to live through the weekend. He was treated at the Shriners Burn Hospital in Cincinatti where he stayed for nine months before going for treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville.
Bates — along with his wife, children and friends — founded SOS to give back to the hospital system that helped him.
“Because of the shriners I was able to overcome those adversities,” he said. “Any kid I’ve ever met coming out of these hospitals goes on to do some amazing things and live happy, productive lives.”
The July fundraiser was separated into two events – one during the day and the other at night. The daytime event was held from 12–5 p.m. in the Union Square parking lot and featured food, exhibits, entertainment and activities.
The night event, which lasted from 7 p.m.–midnight, was held inside Shady’s and featured entertainment from beach band The O’Kaysions and DJ Motown Bobby. Another bright spot of the evening was the atmosphere created by Ambient Media – a Columbia company which specializes in event lighting and decoration.
The company transformed Shady’s into an upscale event hall, and each table displayed a centerpiece – a colorful message in a bottle – made by the children at the Shriners Hospital in Greenville.
The SOS team received many contributions, the largest being the donation of the total profit from an event held at Shady’s the week before the SOS Bash. Local musicians held a concert to pay tribute to High Cotton – a band which was popular during the ‘70s and consisted of Union natives. Proceeds from the High Cotton tribute totaled $5,462 and were donated to the Save Our Shriners cause.
With the first SOS Bash coming up just short of its $10,000 goal, the SOS team decided to aim even higher for next year’s event with a goal of $15,000.
“We want it to get bigger and bigger,” Bates said.
He went on to say the SOS team is currently discussing potential dates in the spring for a 2011 Bash, in an effort to continue raising money, support and awareness for the Shriners Hospital for Children.
Additional information can be found at www.supportourshriners.com or by calling Joe Bates at (803) 727-0304.