Event nets $3,100-plus for fire victims

Posted: July 28, 2014

The Winchester Star

Al Erickson of Purcellville fills out the raffle ticket he bought during a fundraiser at the VFW in Berryville on Saturday for Patricia Stiles and her 7-year-old granddaughter Reese Burdette. Berryville residents Britney Moore (from left), Susanne Vaughan and Krystal Fletcher were among the fundraiser’s volunteers.
Motorcyclists return to the VFW after taking part in a charity poker run.

BERRYVILLE — Several thousand dollars were raised Saturday for a Clear Brook woman and her granddaughter who were seriously injured in a May house fire.

The benefit for Patricia Stiles and 7-year-old Reese Burdette was held from noon to 10 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post on South Buckmarsh Street.

The event included a motorcycle charity ride, barbecue dinner, cornhole tournament, silent auction and a womanless beauty pageant. It was organized by Cheryl Fletcher, who works as a cleaner for Stiles, and Fletcher’s daughter, Krystal, and sister Peggy Wilmoth.

Stiles was released from a rehabilitation facility 10 days ago. She had been hospitalized since the May 26 fire at her home at Waverly Farm, where the Stiles family operates a dairy farm.

Stiles ran through flames in a burning bedroom to rescue her granddaughter, who was visiting from Pennsylvania.

Reese remains hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Fletcher said the benefit raised more than $3,100.

“I’ve known the family for years,” Fletcher said. “I wanted to do something to help. Patricia is a very, very nice lady.”

Fletcher said the community responded to the call to help with the benefit, with people donating to the silent auction, and someone donating a shotgun to be raffled off.

Clarke County resident Tom Korbini organized the motorcycle poker run.

He said about 30 motorcyclists went on the run, which included stops in Charles Town, W.Va., and Purcellville, where they were given playing cards. Whoever had the best hand when returning to the VFW won a $100 gift card to Harley-Davidson donated by Loudoun Valley Floors.

The burly, tattooed Korbini said organizing his first poker run wasn’t a tough decision to make.

“I have two daughters myself, and I just thought that it was a worthy cause,” he said. “[Fletcher] showed me the picture of Reese and I just melted because of my daughters, and I wanted to do something to help.”

A firetruck from Boyce Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company led the bikers on the final stretch of their ride, from the Lone Oak Tavern in Waterloo down Lord Fairfax Highway (U.S. 340) to the VFW.

Larry Taylor, 44, of Martinsburg, W.Va., participated in the poker run with his daughter, Ashlee’.

“It benefits a family that’s worthwhile to do it for,” he said. “It’s a sense of community — we’ve got this little girl who’s still fighting this thing. I would love to see that little girl get out [of the hospital]. I’ve got grandkids of my own.”

— Contact Sally Voth at svoth@winchesterstar.com