The Lake Almanor Elks hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraising event May 19 to raise funds on behalf of Fernando Conchas. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Elks raise funds to benefit local resident after head injury

A check in the amount of $1,000 was presented May 5 to Lucy Palanco, mother of Fernando Conchas, who recently suffered a serious head injury while helping to load furniture in the back of a pick up truck for a friend. From left: former exalted ruler and current Elks member Steve DeWitt, Palanco and Kitty DeWitt. Photo submitted

A spaghetti dinner fundraising event at the Lake Almanor Elks Lodge in Chester on May 19 saw community members offer their support to Chester resident Fernando Conchas, 24, who recently suffered a serious head injury while helping to load tables in the back of a pickup truck in the early morning hours of April 22.

The driver of the truck thought he would prank Conchas by pulling forward suddenly while he was standing up in the bed of the truck, causing Conchas to fall and hit his head on the pavement.

Luckily, neighbors heard the crashing sound of some of the tables also falling onto the street and called 911 as soon as they discovered Conchas unconscious.

After hearing that Conchas had sustained a major injury that required several days in an induced coma at Enloe Hospital in Chico, former Exalted Ruler and current Elks member Steve DeWitt stepped up to organize the fundraiser as a way to support the family with the substantial medical bills that resulted from the accident.

“I’d just like to thank the community who came out for our fundraiser,” said DeWitt. “The Elks are here to help those in need as best we can.”

A portion of the money benefitting Conchas also came from the Lake Almanor Elks’ program Wheel Around Lake Almanor, he said, held every year to raise money for people with critical needs.

Conchas’ family also attended the dinner at the Elks Lodge, his mother Lucy Palanco said in a telephone interview, including Fernando’s father Ignacio, along with his youngest sister Julie.

Although currently in rehab, “His recovery has been remarkable, ”DeWitt noted, “… I’ve known Fernando since he was a little kid,” he added, “and I knew I had to do something.”

Fernando Conchas’ oldest sister Sandi confirmed that her brother was showing a lot of progress recuperating and wanted to add that on behalf of the family, “We want to thank everyone at the Elks Lodge for the hard work they put in making the fundraiser happen. They went above and beyond in their efforts for Fernando. We’re especially grateful to the community for its support. I know my brother would express his gratitude as well if he could.”

Family members drive to Chester three times a week to be there for Fernando. Medical expenses also add up that are not covered by insurance, Sandi Conchas shared.

Anyone who would like to donate to the Conchas family, Plumas Bank of Chester has a special account set up. Checks can be made out to Sandi Conchas.

Lake Almanor Elks members work the kitchen cooking up a delicious spaghetti dinner for the May 19 fundraiser at the lodge location in downtown Chester. Photo by Stacy Fisher