Eudora area residents are organizing a benefit soup feed and dance to help raise money for a rural Eudora man who was seriously burned in an explosion at his home a month ago.
The events are planned for May 18 in the Eudora High School cafeteria and gymnasium. The chili and soup feed is to run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the first of two bands is scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m.
Norm Tyler, one of the organizers, said the benefit is being held to raise money for Danny Abel, 36, who was seriously burned when he tried to light a propane heating system in the greenhouse behind his house.
Abel received second- and third-degree burns over the upper half of his body and spent about three weeks undergoing treatment in the burn unit at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.
Abel now is home. Doctors say Abel's recovery was much quicker than expected and they allowed him to return home nine days ago.
ABEL SAID from his home this morning that he has spent most of his time recuperating at home watching television, reading books and visiting with well-wishers who stop by to check on him.
"The doctors were amazed that I was healing up this well and said I could probably heal as well at home as in the hospital," said Abel, who is a rural mail carrier.
Shortly before he was released from the medical center, Abel was listed in serious condition.
Abel, who graduated from Eudora High School in 1971, said he had heard about the planned benefit and said he might even try to make an appearance at the dance.
Tyler said this morning that organizers of the events hope money raised at the soup feed and dance would help with expenses the family incurred as a result of the accident.
Abel was burned while trying to re-light the propane heating system he uses to heat his greenhouse, where he grows melons. Authorities say the heating system pilot light went out the night before, but propane that fed the pilot light continued to spew, filling the greenhouse with the gas. When Abel tried to light the pilot light, the gas ignited and exploded.
AUTHORITIES responding to the accident found Abel inside his house on the living room floor. Abel said he was able to run inside and tell relatives to call an ambulance.
Eudora school district officials have donated the use of the gymnasium and cafeteria for the dance and soup feed, and others have donated food, money and time. Two local bands, The Carl Abel Bean Pickers and Retired Rockers, and the Dwane Richardson Band, will perform at the dance for free.
Free-will donations will be taken for the soup and chili feed, but admission will be charged for the dance, Tyler said.
The Carl Abel band is a 1960s and 1970s rock band and will perform from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The Dwane Richardson Band is country and western and will take the stage from 8:30 p.m. until everybody goes home, Tyler said.
"We're real tickled with the whole thing," Tyler said of the benefit. "It seems to be working real well. The whole town is sort of rallying behind him (Danny), which is nice in a small town."