Events to raise funds for family of Marine

Two fundraising events are coming up in the next few days for the family of Jonathon Blank, the Marine sergeant from rural Augusta who was severely injured in October in Afghanistan.

Sunday, St. James Catholic Church, 1010 Belmont Ave. in Augusta, will hold a sloppy joe dinner from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no charge, but donations will be accepted.

On Tuesday, the Augusta Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, 416 W. Seventh St., will donate 50 percent of its proceeds from that day's sales. The store selected Tuesday because it's Pearl Harbor Day.

Money from both fundraisers will be deposited in the Jonathon Blank Family Fund at Augusta's White Eagle Credit Union.

The funds are to help family members with travel expenses, so they can remain with Blank.

He is being moved this weekend from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Augusta Public Safety Director Tyler Brewer said Thursday.

Blank was injured Oct. 26 when his 1st Reconnaissance Battalion was on foot patrol in southwest Afghanistan. He lost both legs and sustained internal injuries when an improvised explosive device detonated.

Brewer said he was told by family members that Blank has started doing some physical therapy.

"He's doing better," Brewer said of Blank's condition. "He has good days and bad days. He's showing a sense of humor at times.

"But he's having a lot of problems with pain management."

Blank, 23, arrived at Bethesda on Nov. 5, when he was joined by his family. His father, Matthew, sister Abigael and younger brother Nathanial have since returned home because of work and school.

His mother, Karen, and twin brother, Linden, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, are still with him.

They take turns staying with him around the clock, Brewer said.

"Jonathon has a long way to go," Brewer said.