Auction raises funds for burned seven-year-old

November 08, 1997


Staff Writer

CLEAR SPRING - Seven-year-old Daniel Hockenberry and his mom, Carol, had more than a passing interest in Saturday's auction sponsored by the Clear Spring Elementary School PTA.

When the last item had been sold, the auction had raised $1,500 to help the Hockenberry family offset $13,000 in medical bills incurred when Daniel was burned on his left leg in an accident at a babysitter's home Sept. 26.

"I never knew I had so many friends until this happened,'' Hockenberry said, trying to hold back the tears.

The Hockenberry family, which also includes husband Jeffrey, a truck driver, and Bryan, 11, has no medical insurance.

"I work part time at the Clear Spring Elementary School but I don't have any benefits,'' she said. Her husband, who is on the road more than he's home, also has no insurance.


Daniel was rushed to Washington County Hospital the Friday afternoon he was burned. There he underwent two surgeries to graft skin from his thigh onto his damaged lower leg.

"We don't actually know what happened but his leg from the knee to the ankle had third-degree burns,'' Hockenberry said.

What is known is that Daniel got a hold of some gasoline and the fire occurred.

"Mrs. Tina Lane (a Clear Spring Elementary School teacher) told me about the Shriner's Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, and even got in touch with them for me,'' Hockenberry said.

Someone from that hospital, which is devoted solely to caring for burned children, called Hockenberry right back and arrangements were made for the whole family to drive out there for specialized burn treatment.

"Everything was free to us there - treatment for Daniel and our expenses while he underwent a third surgery,'' Hockenberry said.

The family will return to Ohio Nov. 24-25 for another follow-up visit, again free of charge.

"I owe so much to the community of Clear Spring and to the Shriner's Hospital,'' Hockenberry said.

Daniel said he has to wear a special body stocking on his leg.

"It doesn't hurt ... well, not too much,'' Daniel said.

He is back in school until he has to go back to the hospital again.

Principal Jill Burkhart, who attended the auction Saturday, has made arrangements for Daniel's dressings to be changed while he is at school, Hockenberry said.

The fund-raising efforts at the school were organized by Helene Ridenour and her mother, Helene Drury. Individuals, businesses and local stores donated furniture, toys, gift certificates, hotel room stays and auctioning services.

"We only spent $100 on the whole thing,'' Ridenour said. "Even the food we sold for lunch was donated.''

In addition to the auction, there was a "pocket change" day for schoolchildren earlier in the week to give leftover lunch money to the family.

There are also numerous cans in locations around the Clear Spring area for donations.

Anyone wishing to contribute is being encouraged to send checks to the Washington County Hospital designated for Daniel Hockenberry's medical bill, according to Ridenour.

"We're also planning a dance in December with all proceeds going to pay medical bills,'' Ridenour said. "A band has already volunteered.''

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