Doing it for Doug: Porky’s Last Stand holds fundraiser for long-time patron

Jeannene O'Connel, left, assists Robyn Jones and MC Travis Gerbec on June 25 as they call raffle tickets and auction off items donated by area businesses.

Kathleen Tuttle/Special to the Eagle

Jeannene O'Connel, left, assists Robyn Jones and MC Travis Gerbec on June 25 as they call raffle tickets and auction off items donated by area businesses.

Porky's Last Stand Manager Toni Ison, at the June 20 Doug Rice Benefit Cook-Out raffle.

Kathleen Tuttle/Special to the Eagle

Porky's Last Stand Manager Toni Ison, at the June 20 Doug Rice Benefit Cook-Out raffle.

Rory Cox, line cook, at the June 20 Doug Rice Benefit Cook-Out.

Kathleen Tuttle/Special to the Eagle

Rory Cox, line cook, at the June 20 Doug Rice Benefit Cook-Out.

Jeannene O'Connel, left, assists Robyn Jones and MC Travis Gerbec on June 25 as they call raffle tickets and auction off items donated by area businesses.

Kathleen Tuttle/Special to the Eagle

Jeannene O'Connel, left, assists Robyn Jones and MC Travis Gerbec on June 25 as they call raffle tickets and auction off items donated by area businesses.

Porky's - Marco

701 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco

The heart of Porky’s Last Stand stirred once again with compassion towards one of Marco’s own. Porky’s covered entrance was the site of the Doug Rice Benefit Cook-Out, June 20 and 21.

Line cook Rory Cox grilled up homemade Cajun sausage and bratwurst with all the fixings. The sausages were free with donation going towards the David Rice Cancer fund.

The compassion continued with the Doing it for Doug karaoke fundraiser June 24. There was a 50/50 raffle drawing ($5 per ticket), raffles for prizes ($2 per ticket), a live auction from the karaoke stage as well as a silent auction. Among the raffle prizes were dinners to area restaurants and merchandise from local businesses.

Staff members wearing glowing red hearts sold raffle tickets and orange ribbons to patrons. The atmosphere was festive with many locals and vacationers bidding for items. Bartender and server, Robyn Jones, played her role as auctioneer with panache. Server Jeannene O’Connell was her assistant. The sonorous voice of the emcee Travis Gerbec kept things rocking.

According to Toni Ison, the gregarious general manager of Porky’s, Doug Rice was a long time patron of Porky’s before he came on board as a bartender. For more than half a year he tended bar nights and worked on screen enclosures during the day. A few years ago the blond, blue-eyed Rice had a melanoma on his face, had surgery and was given a clean bill of health. Recently a new lesion appeared on his face.

Rice went to the doctor about a month ago and found out that the melanoma had come back. The tumor was removed but the cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes and internal organs. Rice, age 42, was given one to three months to live and possibly up to six months with chemotherapy.

He had his first chemotherapy treatment at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa on June 16 and, according to Ison, was “talking and cheerful.” However, he was too weak to attend Tuesday’s fund-raiser.

“Pretty much everyone here has given their own time, part of their tips, and going out to get prizes,” continued Ison.

“Doug is awesome to work with,” stated bartender, Nola Gastineau. “Always willing to take an extra shift. Never complained and even in the middle of being diagnosed he was always dignified, very funny, great sense of humor; [he] made us laugh. He has no family here. In this industry your co-workers become your family.”

Auctioneer Jones, echoed Gastineau’s sentiments, “[We are all] really good friends.” Jones’ voice next broke into a loud cheer, “We all miss him!”

An upcoming event for Rice is a motorcycle run 8 a.m., July 13. Porky’s will provide a free buffet of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, French toast, coffee, soft drinks and juice for the bikers.

“Doing it for Doug” was not the first fundraiser for Porky’s. The big heart of the staff and patrons at Porky’s was also evident in the karaoke fundraiser for the Gregory Weber Lang Foundation. The foundation was started by Gregory Weber Lang, a young man with terminal cancer, to raise money for childhood and adult cancer research, as well as college scholarships for high school seniors who faced a life altering challenge while maintaining a positive attitude.

“He was so amazing. Here he’s establishing a fund … His last public event was our karaoke fundraiser and he said he had his best time, ever,” stated Ison.

As Rice can no longer work, medical bills are piling up. To date Porky’s has raised a little over $2,000.

People wanting to donate to his medical fund are welcome to stop by Porky’s Last Stand, 701 Bald Eagle Drive, and put cash in the jar or make a check out to Doug Rice.

For information on the Moffitt center and melanoma go to www.moffitt.org and search for melanoma.

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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