NEWBERRY — The Support Our Shriners parade and fun fest will kick off Saturday morning.
The event will start at 10 a.m. with a parade on Main Street from Calhoun to Nance streets and immediately following the parade there will be a fun festival at the Newberry Shrine Club. The club is located off C.R. Koon Highway on Shrine Club Road between Newberry and Prosperity.
The fun fest will feature live music, great food, kids amusements, games, raffles, vendors, etc.
There is no charge to get into the event but there will be some charges for games, amusements, food, etc. All of the money raised will benefit Support Our Shriners.
The group will also have a SOS booth where they will be selling T-shirts, videos, bracelets, and members will be handing out information about Shriners Hospital for Children.
The Shriner’s children’s hospital helped out one young man who continues to give back.
On Oct. 25, 1980, at age 13 Joe Bates of Union severely burned over 90 percent of his body and later he decided to give back to the Shriners for helping him in the days that followed.
Though his efforts Support Our Shriners was formed and is continuing to raise money.
“Fumes from a gas can ignited when a nearby hot water heater’s pilot light came on and caused a tremendous explosion,” said Bates who was trapped in the smoke and flamed filled the utility room.
His best friend Kevin Silvers was inside the house and heard the explosion and ran outside to the carport to see flames shooting out of the top of the roof.
Silvers, 13, heard Bates screaming from inside the utility room and immediately ran into the flame filled room and grabbed Bates and pulled him to safety.
The family was told that he would most likely not survive through the weekend.
Doctors said the only hope for their son’s survival was to send him to the Shriner’s Burn Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In a matter of a few phone calls they were speaking to Shriner’s Potentate Carl Patrick. Just a couple of hours later Bates was in a Lear Jet on an emergency flight.
“The Shriners immediately responded with their love, expertise, medical facilities by extending maximum and essential life saving emergency and treatment freely,” said Bates.
For the next nine months Bates fought for his life and endured skin grafts, intensive care and therapy, but those in Union held a welcoming home celebration for him.
At age 16, after spending three years in a wheelchair, Joe finally learned to walk again after additional reconstructive surgery at The Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville.
Because of the quality care of Shriners and the support of his family, friends, and community Bates has gone on to live a happy and productive life.
Despite the amputation of his fingers, he plays guitar, piano, and sings. Bastes was married to his soul mate Erin Hartman and they have two children, Luke, 9, and Josie, 6. As a family they volunteer and help organize benefits and fundraisers to help others in need.
In the past three years with the help of the community and the Shriners SOS they have raised over $27,000 for The Shriners Hospital for Children.
The event was formerly held in Union but this year it has been moved to Newberry.
Many of the local Shriners have worked to put on the festival and organize it.