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March 25, 2014 8:10 am

Friends rally to support injured Powell man

Written by Gib Mathers

Friends are rallying to support a Powell man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in January.

A fundraiser is set for Friday for Ryan Gutierrez, a 31-year-old Powell resident. He was injured in a fight at LaVina Package Liquors in Powell on Jan. 19, according to Powell police.

As a result of the fight, Gutierrez suffered a traumatic brain injury and had to undergo major brain surgery to remove a blood clot. He was in the intensive care unit for 13 days and began rehabilitation following his release from a Billings hospital, said Jessi Balderas, a rally organizer.

Gutierrez has undergone physical, speech and occupational therapy due to the traumatic injury. He is home now, but has a long road to recovery, continuing with his speech and occupational therapy at least three times per week.

Gutierrez’ medical bills are costly, “and he does not have medical insurance,” Balderas said.

Gutierrez, a chef, is now unable to work. The injury sidelined him just as his career was on the rise, friends and relatives said.

“At the time of the injury Ryan was starting to make a name for himself in his hometown as a chef,” Balderas posted on the Rally for Ryan page at http://www.gofundme.com/7b0h0w.

Gutierrez is still striving to get his speech skills back up to par. He is also working to recover his fine motor skills.

Gutierrez’s doctor has not cleared him to return to work, said Chad Gutierrez, Ryan’s brother.

The fundraiser is at The Eagles Lodge in Powell. Doors open at 5 p.m., and dinner, including barbecued pulled pork, baked beans and salad, will be served at 6 p.m. Admission is $8 a head or $25 for families.

To keep things lively, there will be a darts tournament as well as live and silent auctions, said Cindy Balderas, a rally volunteer.  

The silent auction will include a framed wildlife photo, sports memorabilia, jewelry, dinners at fine restaurants and more. A live auction will be held to bid on toothsome desserts prepared by volunteers, said Cindy Balderas.

People can donate to the Ryan Gutierrez benefit account at the Bank of Powell. For folks wishing to supply items for the silent auction, call 307-202-0806.

Raffle tickets will be sold for a computer tablet Friday night. Raffle tickets for the tablet are $5 each or five for $20. They will be sold at the rally and until the drawing April 26.

All proceeds from the rally will be used to pay Gutierrez’s medical bills and support him.

The Snowball Softball Tournament at the Homesteader Park softball complex April 26-27 will also raise money for Gutierrez.

All proceeds, with the exception of the cost to rent the field and the purchase of refreshments for the coed tourney, will be earmarked for Gutierrez, said Amy Nielsen, one of the tourney organizers.

The minimum number of players is 10, with an equal number of males and females, Nielsen said.

It costs $150 per team to enter. Businesses are encouraged to sponsor teams, Nielsen said.

To sign up a team or sponsor a team contact Billy Allen at 307-272-9873 or Nielsen at 307-250-3713.

Gutierrez is strong and determined to reclaim the life he once had.

“We are seeking any financial assistance to help him,” Balderas said. “If you are unable to donate please join all of his family and friends in thought, prayer and support for Ryan for a full recovery.”

People are lucky to live in a community like Powell where folks are always willing to lend a hand, she said.

“There is no way we could ever say thank you enough,” Chad Gutierrez said.

For more information, check out “Rally for Ryan” on Facebook.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link March 26, 2014 11:16 am posted by Greg P

    Is anyone being held accoutable for his injuries?

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