Sunday, June 06, 2010

Local 399 Host Benefit for Natasha McShane

Here's another opprtunity to help coming up soon!

Stationary Engineer Local # 399 hosted an estimated 600 great people who attended Friday night's benefit for beating victim Natasha McShane. The event was put together by former Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheehan and his brother James "Skinny" Sheehan along with Chicago Sun Times owner James Tyree, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Mayor Daley. Chicago's great Skilled Trades Unions were thick in the giving especially Pipe Fitters Local 597. There is not a benefit in this City that is not aided by the Carpenters, Electricians, Hoisters, Cement Finishers, Plumbers, or Laborers Locals. I can see 597 Leader Tom Kotel dropping an envelop thick with 'Hundos.'

I could not attend but most of my large extended family were there - you can contribute to the Fund for Natasha McShane, as I did by clicking my post title.

Cousins, Mike Brennan, Hank Walsh, Brian, Mike, Red Pat, Sy, Marc Hickey and the many Winters Lads Willie, Bart, Mark, Vince, Brendan, Tim, Marty, Jack and Nat along with my brother-in-law Larry DiMateo scooped up cash for the poor Girl.

Old buddy and Pulitzer Prize Winning Cartoonist Jack Higgins and his beautiful bride Missy wondered ( and well they should) about my absence to which, Chicago Renaissance Man and Radio Legend Mike Houlihan replied, " I think it was Hickey's night to tape the Kardashian Saga on Cable." The burn on the treasured CD did not take, alas. Bernard Callaghan of Keegan's Pub no doubt nodded with dour and sober understanding of my absence from this throng of worthies.

No, I was not having a breast reduction, liposuction or any other elective cosmetic surgery . . .thank you very much.

High School pals Bobby Sheehy and Pat Byrne of the Mulliganeer's gave cousin John Winters a check in the amount of $ 2,500 to help Natasha McShane. The Mulliganeers are dedicated to helping Chicago families suffering from illness and unexpected financial tragedies of this kind and have presented hundreds of thousands of dollars to that mission.

Mark Konkol of the Chicago Sun Times must be credited with boosting the news on this great benefit! I am sure the Dooley Brothers, Terry McEldowney, Cathy O'Connell,John Williams and Liz Carroll provided music.

My Neighbors,Cops, Fireman and Catholic and Public Teachers larded the giving! I know Leo Men Jerry Schmitt, Chico Driscoll, Harry Valadez, Larry Lynch, Rich Doyle, Tom Lynch and so many others were on hand. State Sen. Ed Maloney, State Reps. Kevin Joyce, Mike Carberry, Rep. Elect Kelly Burke and her husband Terry were all there making this a full basket for Natasha. The Great Mike Doorhy a Master of throwing a benefit for aid was there! I can see the ghosts of John Hickey, Martin Ford, Johnny Neary, Jigs Donahue, Old Jack Reedy and my grandfather Lawrence, an old Local 399 Founder, tough guy and Kerry Bogman smiling with approval and wondering "Why the Hell, Patsheen was not there . . . Christ Jesus Almighty!!!?"

I am so proud of Chicago's great hearted people. Below is CBS 2's Krystin Hartman's fine report.

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Natasha McShane

A young woman has a tough recovery, but she's not going it alone. Supporters packed a benefit Friday night in honor of Natasha McShane. She's one of two women who survived a vicious baseball bat beating in Bucktown in April.

CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports.

It was everything Irish for a young woman from Northern Ireland who came to the Windy City to study. Her name is Natasha McShane. She's fighting her way back to everyone who cares about her.

A young woman has a tough recovery, but she's not going it alone. Supporters packed a benefit tonight in honor of Natasha McShane. She's one of two women who survived a vicious baseball bat beating. CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman has the story.

Everything Irish in Chicago tonight for a young woman from Northern Ireland who came to the windy city to study. Her name is Natasha McShane. She's fighting her way back to everyone who cares about her.

"Natasha is slowly progressing every day, she's even beginning to talk," longtime family friend Mark Campbell said.

That's good news considering all that's happened.

"She was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Campbell.

One early morning in April, Natasha was walking along a busy street with her friend, Stacy Starl Jurich, when police say Heriberto Viramontes attacked them with a bat in Bucktown. The injuries were serious. Mary Dunne read about it.

"How will I ever say I'm from Chicago?" she said. "I was so embarrassed. Then I thought, 'I can do something.'"

Dunne rallied her brothers Mike and James "Skinny" Sheahan and other local leaders to help Natasha and her parents, who traveled so far to be by their daughter's side.

The benefit to raise money for her considerable medical care was the result. Hundreds of people from the Irish community answered the call.

"Now I'm proud to go to Ireland because, quite frankly, everybody over there knows now how Natasha is loved in our city," Dunne said.

She says the McShanes are grateful for the outpouring. Natasha's father attended the benefit, but declined comment. A family friend said: "Keep the prayers going. Keep believing in this beautiful Irish girl, that she can get better 100 percent. "

One hundred percent of Friday's proceeds went to the McShane family. Everything from the food to the space, was donated.

On Friday, Heriberto Viramontes and his alleged accomplice, Marcy Cruz, both pleaded not guilty to several charges in connection with the Bucktown beatings. They will appear for a status hearing on July 7.

Cruz, 25, told her boyfriend, co-defendant Viramontes, to "look at all those drunk a------- coming out of the bar'' moments before Viramontes attacked the women, Asst. Cook County State's Atty. Erin Antonietti said during bond proceedings.

Jurich needed 15 staples to the outside of her head and McShane was initially in a drug-induced coma, the prosecutor said.

About 18 minutes after the robbery, Viramontes and Cruz were captured on surveillance video at a nearby gas station trying to use the victim's credit card, a source said.

Viramontes, a Spanish Cobras gang member, has been arrested more than 30 times and convicted of burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle and domestic battery, police said.

Cruz has a record of arrests for minor crimes but has never been convicted, police said.

McShane was transferred from Northwestern Memorial Hospital to the Rehab Institute on May 14, a spokeswoman for Northwestern Memorial said. She opened her eyes for the first time on April 30 as doctors slowly pulled her from a drug-induced coma. She also spoke her first words and now understands her condition.

Jurich is now receiving outpatient treatment.

Sun-Times Media Wire contritubed to this report.
(© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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