Sitzmark annual auction raised $5200 to continue youth ski programs

TONASKET – Three years ago, Jim Neal, Jr. was paralyzed in a local farming accident and next week a benefit auction will be held at the Tonasket Saloon to raise money for him.

The auction, which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., will be raising money for a family van that, when bought, the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) will outfit with equipment essential to Neal’s safety and comfort.

“Jim was born and raised in Tonasket and returned here to raise his son,” Rachael McDougall, with Pine Creek Counseling Services said. “Jim was tragically paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a local farming accident about three years ago. After almost a year of residential rehab, Jim and his wife and young son returned to Tonasket. Jim was re-hospitalized with complications and returned a second time to his home in June 2008. He and his family have been ‘learning to live’ and reintegrate themselves back into the community since that time.”

Auction organizers are looking for contributions of items for the auction or monetary donations of any amount. Donations can be made to James E. Neal, Jr. with “benefit account” on the memo line and sent to US Bank.

Kinross Gold Company has already donated money to purchase a computer which L&I will modify to assist Neal with tasks such as turning lights on and off and giving him access to people through the Internet.