Big Turnout Expected for North Adams Benefit Dinner

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Sports
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Al Marceau coaches the Drury High School baseball team last spring.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Friday night at the Eagles Hall should be a heck of a party.
Its inspiration is a heck of a guy.
A band of city residents have come together to hold a spaghetti dinner and concert to benefit Drury High School baseball coach Al Marceau and his family in the wake of a serious illness that hospitalized the teacher and coach for three weeks this winter.
Mike Crews is one of the principal architects of the event, and he had a simple reason for putting it together.
"If it was me, they would do this for me," Crews said on Monday.
"For Al, there is nothing more important to him than family. The fact that he was in the hospital for 21 days, not seeing his kids? That was it for me.
"He's a good friend, a great dad, an awesome husband and a great coach."
And there has been a great initial response to the fundraiser, Crews said.
He has more than 200 pounds of spaghetti ready to go, and his biggest concern on Monday morning was making sure he has enough to feed everyone who turns out on Friday night.
Tickets to the 4 p.m. dinner are $7 for adults, $5 for children, and they include admission to a concert at 8 that evening by local group The Old Man Band, which is volunteering its time for the occasion.
Crews said diners will have their hands stamped at the door so they can leave after eating and return for the concert if they choose. Admission to the concert alone will be $5.
The event also will feature a 50/50 raffle and a Chinese auction with gifts donated by area businesses.
Crews said the business community has been very generous in supporting the event — both with donations for the auction and food and materials for the dinner itself.
"We've had great responses from the community," he said. "Pretty much everything has been donated."
Desperados, Mingo's and Bounti-Fare are among the restaurants who have given to the cause, along with the dining hall services at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College, Crews said.
Al Marceau, a father of seven, suffered unexplained bleeding in his head this winter. He ended up at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center for several weeks but has been home for the last two, Crews said.
"Basically, it was sit in the hospital and wait for blood work or go home and be with your kids," Crews said.
On Monday, Marceau was back in Albany for more tests, but Crews said the planners were hoping he would be able to attend at least part of Friday's festivities.
The Eagles Hall can seat about 300 people, and Crews said he is hoping for 800 people to turn out for the fundraiser.
"[Al Marceau is] at every age level sporting event in town," another organizer, Victoria Witherell Tarsa, wrote in a Facebook post promoting the event. "His kids are in all our kids classes, or on their teams, or maybe you went to school with Al and Lisa... or maybe Lisa taught your kids too... He's a pillar in this community, and right now he and his wonderful family need our help."
Crews agreed.
"It's not just Al," he said. "Their whole family is hurt by this. It's been a very emotional time for all of us not knowing how this would turn out.
"On Friday, we're expecting a lot of good people, good friends. It's going to be quite the night."

Tags: baseball,   Drury High,   fundraiser,   

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