Benefit event set for local man

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chili dinner, auction aims to help man injured in tree-cutting accident

A chili supper benefit will be held March 8 at the Washburn High School gym to raise money for Bill Townsend, of Washburn, who was recently injured in a tree-cutting accident.

"I have pride in Washburn because people are always good to help their neighbors in times of need," said Keith Hendrix, friend of Townsend.

The event will start with the serving of chili made by Wayne Hendrix at 5 p.m. There will be live music from local gospel and bluegrass bands, including Ozark Mountain Revival and Rusty Plow.

In addition, there will be an auction to raise money. Hendrix said many local women will be bringing pies to sell, and many items have been donated, including: guns, gift cards, horse tack, auto supplies and Dale Earnhardt collectibles.

"We will have a pretty good variety to auction," Hendrix said. "Everything raised will go to help Bill."

Anyone who has something of value to donate to the auction can call Keith Hendrix or Missy Hendrix at 417-826-5940, or bring the item to the event.

All proceeds from the chili fundraiser will go to Townsend's medical expenses.

Townsend was injured while cutting down a tree with his brother, Jake. The tree fell, and bounced onto Townsend before he could get out of the way. He was trapped with one leg backwards and one leg under the tree and his saw still running, and his brother had to cut him free and call for help. Townsend was transported to a helicopter and flown to Springfield.

"I'd never flown except getting thrown from horse," Townsend said. "But the helicopter pilots treated me like a real special person. I was scared, and they made me feel comfortable."

Townsend broke both legs, 4 ribs and three vertebrae. He spent two weeks in the hospital and then transferred to rehab.

"The therapist and nurses were angels in my heart," Townsend said.

Doctors say a full recovery will take up to two years. Townsend is now home and able to get around with a walker.

"I didn't know anything about the benefit until I got home from rehab," Townsend said. "I was impressed, and those are true friends. When you've got true friends, you're rich. It makes me feel proud that I've got that many good friends."

Townsend said he usually likes to be the one helping, and when he gets back on his feet he plans to resume that role.

"Anytime there's a benefit to help someone else, I'll be there," he said.

Townsend also warns people to take along a friend if they are planning to cut trees.

"I didn't do anything wrong, it was just a weird accident," he said. "But, I'll think twice before I cut another tree."

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