Huerta

Grant Union boy’s basketball head coach RC Huerta during a home game in April. Community members are planning to raise money for Huerta, who was injured in an ATV crash in May, and his family online in a Facebook auction through July 18.

Grant County plans to virtually rally around Grant Union boy’s basketball head coach RC Huerta in a Facebook auction through July 18.

Huerta, who is recovering from an ATV accident in May, faces a financial burden, co-organizer and family friend Erin Gosnell said.

Averie Wenger, an organizer and friend, said she checked in with Huerta’s wife and their four kids after the accident and told her she was there for her and praying for them. But then she decided she wanted to do more.

“We just felt like we needed to do something more than just pray for her, and that’s why we decided to do the auction,” Wenger said.

Wenger said she’s had health problems in the past and has been airlifted to another hospital — like Huerta, who had to be flown from John Day to Bend twice — and said she knows the financial hardship.

It has been especially difficult for the family, Gosnell said, since Huerta’s wife, Jessie, a hairstylist, has been mostly out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew we had to do something,” Wenger said.

Gosnell, who coordinated fundraisers when she worked in hospice care, said businesses jumped at the chance to donate items to the auction. She said companies are typically more selective and want information about the fundraiser before committing.

“It was really easy,” she said. “All I had to say was RC Huerta, and they said, ‘Oh, yes, what do I need to do.’”

She said people have donated from outside of the area as well.

Gosnell, along with her husband, Jesse, assistant boy’s basketball coach and pastor of First Baptist Church in John Day, moved to Grant County three years ago. They have grown close to the Huertas, who moved to the area from Redmond about two years ago.

She said the Huertas have become a second family for them.

Gosnell said it’s impressive how much of an impact the Huertas have made on the community in a short time.

“You have to live in a small community before you get the backing of a small community,” she said. “It usually takes you a long time to get their support, but not them.”

People have accepted the Huerta family as their own, she said.

Wenger said those interested in bidding on items throughout the week can request to join the Facebook group “Huerta Family online auction.

A by-donation drive-through lunch will be held at the First Baptist Church in John Day from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Gosnell said direct donations can be made to the family at paypal.me/jessiehuerta.

Reporter

Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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