Ashburn Diners Raise $600 for Paralyzed Neighbor
A Feb. 12 benefit will help raise additional funds for medical equipment.
The first of several fundraisers to help an Ashburn man with mounting medical expenses, after an accident left him paralyzed, was a success. The Jan. 18 fundraiser at Manhattan Pizzeria in Ashburn, raised $600 for Leo Morin, 77, a retiree who lives in Potomac Green.
The fundraiser was organized by Gerry Gray, a friend of Morin and his wife, Pat. Manhattan Pizzeria donated 20 percent of its sales that day to help the Morin’s purchase medical equipment and pay for medical expenses.
In November, Morin fell off a ladder in his garage while putting away a box on a shelf. He broke his neck in three places, leaving him paralyzed.
“We do a lot of spirit nights, but this, by far, was the most response we’ve ever had. It’s mind- blowing,” said Jack Azar, co-owner of the restaurant which he operates with his brother Essa Azar.
The restaurant tripled its sales compared to normal business on a Tuesday night, Azar said. He explained that they received carry-out calls from as far as Reston and Herndon supporting Morin’s cause, and even people that didn’t personally know Morin wanted to help.
Gray said she wanted to thank everyone that helped with the fundraiser.
“Thank you to Jack and Essa and all of the diners and the companies that donated raffle items,” Gray said.
A couple of door prizes were raffled off at the fundraiser. Maddie Cole won the 7-inch digital photo frame donated by The Medical Team of Reston. Fritz Redmon, of Potomac Green, won the Starbucks Coffee gift basket donated by Capital Hospice.
“People truly love these people,” Azar said, referring to the customers' feeling toward the Morins. Manhattan Pizzeria often teams up with the Potomac Green community to help raise funds for various charities, Azar said. He explained that it is a very tight-knit and active community and that residents really came out in full force to help Morin.
“It’s a great community," he said. "I’ve never seen such a committed community that cares so much for each other. It’s a true community."
Morin came home on January 23 after spending several months at a rehabilitation facility in Maryland.
“He is glad to be home and looks great,” Gray said.
Azar said he was happy to help make the transition easier.
“This was a cause [for] a tragic situation. We’re all blessed in one way or another, and we always feel good about doing these kinds of fundraisers,” he said. “We always try to give back.”
More fundraisers are in the works to help Morin. A benefit dinner will be held on Feb. 12, which is also the Morins' 50th wedding anniversary. Seating is limited for the dinner. Anyone that would like to attend the benefit, or would like to donate money to help Morin, can contact Gerry Gray at 703-723-8353 ext. 105 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.