'More than $8,000'

A Kansas VFW Post raises funds to help sick community member

A Sunflower State VFW Post in March hosted a benefit dinner for a resident who needed help with medical bills.

Chris Dearinger, a Basehor, Kansas, resident, was “stricken” by COVID-19 in September 2021, according to VFW Post 11499 Commander David Babin. The Army veteran said that even though Dearinger has medical insurance, the Basehor resident accrued more than $1.5 million in medical bills, with a “significant amount” that Dearinger still is responsible to pay.

VFW Post 11499 presents a check to Chris Dearinger in April 2022
(From left to right) VFW Post 11499 member Richard Kiggins, Quartermaster Daniel Stueckemann, Dave Gunn, Chris Dearinger, Daniel Dearinger, Chaplin Steve McCown, Matthew Wendlandt and former Basehor Mayor David Breuer pose during a photo of a check pentation to Chris Dearinger in April. Chris Dearinger received $8,238 to help with his medical bills after he caught COVID-19 last year. Photo courtesy of Post 11499.
“Chris spent 47 days on a ventilator,” Babin said, “took three months of rehab learning how to walk and breath on his own. It was all from complications from catching COVID-19.”

Babin added that Dearinger had only returned home from the hospital in recent months.

“We learned of Chris’ situation from former Basehor Mayor David Breuer, and we decided to lend a hand and took a bulk of that on,” Babin said. “We hosted a spaghetti dinner that more than about 200 concerned residents attended. We were able to raise more than $8,000.”

Babin said Dearinger and his father, Daniel, are well known in the community. Babin said that every year the community looks forward to the father-son duo’s Fourth of July city fireworks shows.

“We want to make sure we help anyone in need,” the Army veteran said.

VFW Post 11499 has a “strong connection” with the community, according to Babin.

“We are very involved with putting together fund-raising dinners for seniors, veterans and first responders of the community,” Babin said. “We also work with the school district here with Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy. The Post is well known, and I believe it is respected by everyone.”