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Benefit dinner planned for couple in need

Dale Graff, owner of Better Half Painters, broke his back in three places after he fell off a ladder at a recent painting job. A benefit dinner for the Graff family will be at at the Crosby Community Center on Saturday, May 19. Courtesy photo  - Courtesy photo
Dale Graff, owner of Better Half Painters, broke his back in three places after he fell off a ladder at a recent painting job. A benefit dinner for the Graff family will be at at the Crosby Community Center on Saturday, May 19. Courtesy photo
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Steaming plates of spaghetti and meatballs, world famous pies, live entertainment and multiple auctions will be under one roof next Saturday to help benefit a Bremerton couple.

The doors open at 5 p.m. with a pie auction at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Crosby Community Club, 2135 Christopher Road in Seabeck. Tickets are $20 a person and can be purchased at Barbie’s Seabeck Café in Seabeck. The cost goes toward covering the unlimited refills of the spaghetti dinner provided by Barbie’s Seabeck Café.

With special ties to Seabeck, Dale and Debi Graff are the owners of Better Half Painters and helped give Barbie’s Seabeck Café a facelift when they helped repaint the exterior of the restaurant.

Working various painting jobs throughout the community, Dale Graff’s life was turned upside down when he fell 20 feet from a painting ladder, breaking his back in three places, shattering his tailbone and breaking his right arm and shoulder.

“I was on the ladder and fell off,” Graff said, adding that his sleeping disorder caused him to nod off and that’s when he fell. “I’m feeling pretty fortunate that I’m alive.”

At the age of 49, Graff said he can take small steps with the assistance of a walker, and needs help with common activities such as getting dressed.

“I’m walking worse than an old man,” Graff added. “It’s not a pretty sight.”

Because the Graffs were self-employed, they don’t have the medical benefits that help cut the costs of extensive hospital care. With surgeries and more than a year of physical therapy, the bills begin to add up. Graff added that his wife is currently not working because she has to help him move around and assist with everyday activities.

“She’s helping to take care of me,” Graff said, adding that with dwindling funds right now, it’s a matter of survival. “It’s a humbling (experience).”

Barbie Mills, owner of Barbie’s Seabeck Café, said she would feel blessed if she could help the Graff family in any way she could.

“If I can, by some way, use my talent to comfort them ... I would feel blessed,” Mills added. “It’s so important to earn as much money (for the Graff family) as we can.”

Along with the dinner and pie auction, there will be another live auction with donated items such as a landscaping package and a night’s stay at a bed and breakfast. The auctioneer of the event will be Darryl Durbin.

Live music, provided by Jim Padden, also will accompany the dinner and auction event. Individuals wishing to donate their musical talent will have the opportunity with the “open mic” invitation.

“(The Graff family) is very special to us,” Mills said.

For more information about the event, or to donate items for the auction, call Mills at (360) 830-5532.

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