By Pat Jenkins
Women on horseback, Girls Scouts, wrestling-style combatants, restaurants and other community members are organizing events to help pay the expenses of an Eatonville-area family whose members were badly injured in a traffic accident on the first day of 2014.
McKenzie Harris, 7, is a quadriplegic as a result of the New Year’s Day accident that sent she and her brother, Wyatt, and their parents, Douglas and Sara, to hospitals. McKenzie remains hospitalized, and Douglas and Sara have been undergoing surgeries and therapy as part of their recovery.
The crash occurred when another vehicle crossed the centerline on State Route 7 and struck the pickup truck that Sara Harris was driving. The other driver, Glenn Fitting of Eatonville, died in the collision.
In the wake of the accident, the Harris family has received an outpouring of support from the public, including fund-raisers that have already been held or are coming up soon.
One event will be hosted by the Tacoma Lariettes, a women’s equestrian drill team based in Spanaway. A game show and playday – in which horseowners can participate in barrel racing, pole bending and other competitive horseriding events – will be held April 13 at the Tacoma Unit 1 riding facility. A silent auction and a donations box will be part of the proceedings.
“We’ll be having a great time knowing that we are helping a community member,” said Tashia Dean, captain of the Lariettes.
Other fund-raisers that will benefit the Harris family include:
• A spaghetti feed and auction April 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Frontier Middle School in Graham, hosted by local Girl Scouts Troop 43886.
• A pasta dinner, raffle and auctions April 12 at JR’s Whistle Stop. Events at the Spanaway-area restaurant will begin at 5 p.m. Organizers include John and Tammi Bratholm.
• A charity grappling tournament March 22 at Eatonville Middle School. The organizer is Brad Pole, owner of Eatonville Mixed Martial Arts. Grappling is a form of wrestling. The first matches will begin at 10 a.m. Admission will be by donation, with proceeds supporting two families – the Harrises and the widow and sons of Adam Norton, an Eatonville resident who died recently.
• Partial proceeds from a motorcycle road rally and a family fun run May 31 in Eatonville. The events will be hosted by CenterPoint at the site of its new church that’s under construction. Proceeds will benefit the Harris family and CenterPoint’s Celebrate Recovery program.
Sales of a “Team McKenzie” bracelet also are supporting the Harrises. Two Eatonville businesses – PostNet and Kirk’s Pharmacy – are among the sale outlets.
In addition to fund-raisers, donations for the Harris family can be made online at youcaring.com/theharrisfamily and to the Harris Family Fund at Key Bank. Donations and well-wishes can also be mailed to Letters to McKenzie, 127 Mashell Ave. N., PMB 51, Eatonville, WA 98328.
Community members are working on efforts to remodel the family’s house to make it more accessible for McKenzie when she and her family return home. Information on that and other support is available at facebook.com/teammckenzieharris.