Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers was on a convoy clearing roadside explosives during his second tour of Afghanistan when it happened.
The 32-year-old new husband and soon-to-be father was seriously injured in September when a bomb was remotely detonated. Deslauriers was transported to National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD and lost both legs and part of his left arm from the incident.
The son of a Bellingham firefighter, Deslauriers graduated from Bellingham High School in 1996. He has been a member of the Air Force for 13 years, earning a Bronze Star, and has also done tours in Kuwait and Iraq. He is expecting his first child - a son - with wife Lisa in December.
Deslauriers upper body was not seriously injured, but the airman's recovery is expected to be a long process, requiring his family to make several trips to and from the Naval Hospital in Maryland.
Now, family and friends of the soldier have come together to help, with a day-long benefit to be held at Coachman's Lodge in Bellingham this Saturday. The event, running from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m., will include a buffet meal, entertainment, raffles, a cash bar and 50/50 drawing. Party of Gold will be also be on site offering cash for old or used gold jewelry, and will donate 15% of their proceeds to the cause.
Smear Campaign, a local band with members in and around Woonsocket will be providing a portion of the day's entertainment. The group, self-described as a "high energy, rock-n-roll party band" will be donating their time to play a family-friendly set from 5 to 7 p.m., thanks, in part, to their efforts of bass player Jamie Nicholson, a Bellingham native who knew Deslauriers from high school.
"I feel it's important to do this," said Woonsocket resident and lead singer Jay Keith. "We sit here in this country while these guys go out and fight the war for us. We're lucky to have this opportunity to help him and his family."
Ticket are $20 per person and can be purchased at the Coachman's Lodge or by calling Sharon Frade-Antonsen at (508) 883-5733 Children are welcomed, with the admission fee waived for kids 10 and under.
If cannot attend the event, but would still like to help, you can donate raffle items, or mail a check to: T Sgt. Deslauriers Benefit Fund, c/o Rockland Trust, 4 N. Main St., Bellingham, MA 02019