Overflow crowd jams Braley benefit
Staff reports of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
It was a gathering fit for a hero.
Congressman Jerry McNerney was present. So was state Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian. They were part of an overflow crowd that arrived at Friday's benefit dinner for wounded sailor Christopher Braley at the Manteca Golf Course clubhouse passing 50 American flags placed along Union Road by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.
Braley, a sailor corpsman attached to a Marine unit, was wounded by an improvised explosive devise while on patrol in Fallujah in Iraq. Earlier Friday, Braley went into surgery again at the Navy hospital in Bethesda, Maryland - this time to deal with bleeding from his eye and other parts of his head.
The sold-out crowd was there for one purpose only - to support Braley and his family as he faces the daunting task of numerous surgeries and months of recovery before returning to his native Manteca.
Proceeds from the $30 tickets will allow his mother to stay with him beyond the month the military pays for family to stay near their wounded sons and daughters. It is considered crucial given the number of surgeries that await him plus the trauma of dealing with the aftermath of having his cheek bones crushed, his nose broken, his right eye gone, and a part of his scalp still open due to shrapnel hitting his head from an improvised explosive device.
Among those present were Gold Star dads Chuck Palmer and Michael Anderson.
Palmer is the father of Marine Cpl. Charles Palmer, the first Manteca soldier to lose his life in Operation Freedom.
Anderson knows all too well the dangers of Fallujah. He lost his son Cpl. Michael Anderson Jr. there on Dec. 14, 2004 during the fierce "Battle for Fallujah." Anderson resides in Modesto and works at Manteca Auto Plaza.
Braley, 23, is a Sierra High graduate.
Those who wish to make a donation may do so by writing a check to
Larry Braley, Jr., c/o The Christopher Braley Fund, acct. #1250009527 at the Bank of Stockton is located at 660 North Main St., 249-2200.
If you'd like to send him mail, you can do so by writing:
HM Christopher Braley
National Naval Medical Center; Building 9 - ICU
8901 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland 20889
HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin
Bill Scaces, who is a childhood friend of
Christopher Braley, stands next to a
tribute honoring the Navy corpsman.
HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin
Gold Star dads Chuck Palmer, left,
and Michael Anderson who have
both lost sons in the Iraq war.