Gilliam to appear at benefit event for game warden

Jan 16, 2014

Friends of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Chris Fried, who was shot Dec. 29, are sponsoring a benefit for the officer set for 5-7 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Delta County Civic Center.

There will be stew and chili, beverage and dessert for $8 and $10 for takeout orders, according to planners. A live and silent auction boasts many items including four-hours of dozer work, one dozen roses (just in time for Valentine’s Day), Galaxy Tablet, air compressor, gift basket with hair dryer and hair products, designer eye glasses, photo sessions, pallet of deer corn, mulch and top soil, various meal vouchers at restaurants, oil changes, Cowboy hat, gas grill, wire welder, fish cookers, gun case, bales of hay, firewood, massage, hair cuts, nail sessions, teeth cleaning and X-rays, taxidermy, handmade jewelry and much more.

“Supporting Chris [Fried] is our main goal,” said Department of Public Safety Trooper Dustin Hunter, helping to organize the event with his update on Monday evening. “Right now I have 47 items on the list, and it continues to grow. Donations are coming in from all around including Cooper, Commerce, Sulphur Springs and Paris.”

The event will begin at 5 p.m. with a chili/stew supper with 4-H participants as volunteer servers along with the 3 Rusty Nails band and friendly socializing. It will continue with the auction both live and silent commencing at 6 p.m. with auctioneer/Game Warden Randolph McGee. Before the night is over, supporters will be entertained by actor Burton Gilliam. Gilliam appeared in Blazing Saddles and Back to the Future Part III as well as television appearances including Alice, Charlie’s Angels, The A-Team, The Dukes Of Hazzard, The Fall Guy, and he appeared as a regular on Evening Shade.

“It will be interesting for Cooper with [Burton] Gilliam making an appearance and signing autographs,” said Trooper Hunter. Gilliam is a former member of the Coast Guard's boxing team and according to his online biography he posted a record of 201 wins out of 217 fights during his enlistment. He and his wife, Susan, live in the Allen area. He is an acquaintance of Delta County Constable Ben Snow.

“We know him well [Chris Fried], and he is just a nice guy and an addition to this office,” said Carol King of the Delta County Sheriff’s office, one of the many organizers. “Anyone, who has had a medical situation, knows how many expenses are involved. People were calling and asking how they can help, and it [the benefit] just grew and evolved. The response has been truly overwhelming. We appreciate everyone for the help and promotion.”

While the warden was able to return home to Cooper recently, his blood clot risk and conditions sent him back to Parkland Hospital Emergency Room in Dallas on Saturday, Jan. 11. Officer Fried was hospitalized due to a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) in his lung.

His wife, Jamie, offers Facebook updates on her husband on his first day home including a police escort back to Delta County on Tuesday, Jan. 7.

“Our first day home: Chris is doing well, with a lot of help he has taken a shower and eaten. He slept pretty well last night (I, on the other hand, stayed awake and looked and felt of him all night to make sure he was OK). He is feeling better today. Thank you all so much for the sweet calls, comments and prayers. They are working! We love you all and are thankful for each one of you!” said Jamie Fried.

A benefit account called Chris Fried Benefit Account has been established at both Enloe State Bank and First National Bank in Cooper for expenses.

“We have been brainstorming each day on what we can do,” added Trooper Hunter. “If there are any leftover we will even be auctioning off donated glass mason jars full the chili/stew.”

For more information contact Carol King at the Sheriff’s office at 903.395.2146 or Dustin Hunter at 903.217.3992.