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Aurora shows it’s community that cares

DeenBess Sherman

Deena Bess Sherman

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Updated: March 23, 2013 6:09AM

Gary Schramer graduated from West Aurora High School in 1973 and has owned a business in Aurora — Twin Liquors — for 30 years. On Jan. 29 two men, driving an older maroon Oldsmobile, entered his store at about 6:20 p.m. They beat Schramer and robbed him. He was lucky to survive his injuries.

When I spoke with his sister, Gill Schramer Iverson, she said, “When they wheeled him out, the left side of his head was so swollen, he looked like the elephant man.” She told me he had suffered a brain bleed and that the doctor who treated him at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove had commented that it was “one of the most extreme facial traumas he had seen.”

Gary has not been able to work since the attack and his business was closed until friends and family members could re-open for a few hours each day. The medical bills have also taken a toll. These weeks have been difficult for his entire family. His sister has been caring for him in her Aurora home and other family members have stepped up to help with bills.

Schramer’s friend and West Aurora High School classmate, Vicki Moore, recently contacted me with some hopeful news: “While working on our 40th reunion we heard about the robbery and of the beating Gary received. We decided that we should come together as a community to help him out.

“Because we had been having reunion meetings at Mike and Denise’s [Pizza Pub and Grill], we instantly thought of them as a place to hold the event. They are so very kindly donating all of the food and one drink per guest. That means that the money people give will go directly to Gary’s medical bills.”

Aurora is a big city, but sometimes I’m reminded that it can act like a small town when it comes to taking care of its own.

When I spoke with Gill by phone, she read me a note from her brother Gary: “Thanks for all the outpouring of love and prayers from the community and friends.”

The family especially wanted to thank the person who noticed Gary’s “closed” sign during regular business hours, had a feeling something was wrong, and called 911. Gary might have remained bleeding and unconscious on the floor for a very long time if he hadn’t done that. They would love to know who he is.

Thanks in great part to Gary’s friend, Larry McKay, Twin Liquors on Farnsworth Avenue is now open Monday through Thursdays 3-9 p.m., Fridays 3-10 p.m., Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. If you’d like to patronize Gary’s business or maybe leave a note of encouragement, stop by.

Then mark your calendar for March 3rd from 2-7 p.m. for the festivities at Mike & Denise’s Pizza Pub and Grill. They’ve been a family-owned Aurora business for 21 years, located at 1760 N. Farnsworth Ave. I spoke with Mike Siddon, one of the owners. “Gary is such a great guy,” he said. “People have already been dropping off donations of money and items for the raffle.”

He, too, is pleased to see this city pull together for one of its sons in his time of need.

Tickets are $20 ($10 for those 12 and under). That gets you not only dinner, but the chance to hear local bands — with musicians from the West Aurora High School Class of ’73. Aside from the 50/50 raffle, other prizes will include gift baskets, gift cards, a Weber grill, a fire pit, liquor from some of Gary’s distributors and a vacuum cleaner from All-Vac. Call 630-820-7447 for more information or to make a donation.

Happily, Gary is healing and will be well enough to attend the event. Be sure and stop by to remind him he lives in one of the greatest cities on earth, full of people who care.

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