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Great support shown in sale to "Bring Justin Home"


People shop at a sale Saturday at Harvest Foods, where contributors donated large amount of goods that brought in over $6,000. - Scott Hunter photo

A sale of used items on the sidewalk outside of Harvest Foods and Variety in Coulee Dam Saturday drew huge support from contributors, raising about $6,400.

The sale was held to give support to the family of Justin "Jay" Arnold in their efforts to bring him closer to home from a New York care facility.

Arnold suffered a critical brain injury when he was struck by a car in New York, where he was pursuing his education as a chef. Transporting him across the country required a special flight, which actually happened on Saturday as the sale was going on.

Justin Arnold made the cross-country flight to Seattle's Kindred Hospital, a "long-term acute care" facility, where he "actually looks really good," said his brother, Kirk Arnold, on Tuesday from Fusion Café and Espresso, the restaurant he and his wife, Charity, own in Electric City.

Saturday's sale was the second fundraiser dedicated to the cause of Justin's transport. The first was a special dinner at the restaurant that brought in about $6,500. The transport bill for the flight from New York, which included full medical staff, came to about $29,000, Kirk said.

"Thank God for all the support from the community," he said.

"There are times that there seems to be a growing awareness that we're around him," Kirk said of his brother. "I think Jay, in part, is there."

He said there have been many cases in the past of people with similar injuries who later said they'd been aware of everything but were unable to respond. Others have not done so well, but his brother's state this weekend was encouraging, even surprising, he said.

"He is getting better, little by little," he said.

Jay has been dependent on a machine breathing for him through a tracheotomy, a hole surgically made in his windpipe. He is now being "weaned" off the "trach," Kirk said.

He noted that a schoolmate of Jay's from Lake Roosevelt High School, Duke Richardson, is a respiratory therapist at Kindred and greeted them when they arrived.

Matt Hendrickson, who worked Saturday's sale, said the community was very supportive with donations of items to sell. People even dropped off cash donations without buying anything.

"It was a good turnout," Hendrickson said, noting gratitude to Ray Duclos for the use of the space around Harvest Foods and Variety.

People shop at a big sale Saturday at Harvest Foods, where contributors donated a large amount of goods that brought in over $6,000. - Scott Hunter photo

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