The hit-and-run driver who nearly killed 36-year-old Anita Perry on Feb. 4 left her with two broken legs, a spine broken in three places and a broken pelvis, ribs and finger.

The driver, who has yet to be apprehended, also broke the heart of an entire elementary school.

Perry's 11-year-old son, Tino, is a fourth-grader at Davis Elementary School, which is just a few blocks from where the hit-and-run occurred. On the day a vehicle struck his mother while she was walking on a sidewalk near Southeast 194th Avenue and Stark Street, Tino was just 15 to 20 feet away, riding a scooter.

News of the accident and the family's subsequent struggles hit hard at the school, where head cook Phyllis Griffin bounced into action. She suggested holding a spaghetti-dinner fund-raiser for Perry and her children. The school staff embraced Griffin's suggestion, 'and it has snowballed since then,' says Mary Brown, who is Tino's teacher.

Scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, the spaghetti feed has expanded to include entertainment and a raffle. People from the school and community have volunteered to entertain the crowd, and a local congregation - Clear Creek Community Church - is collecting the raffle prizes. Griffin and her cafeteria crew, working as volunteers, will cook the meal, which will cost $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 4 to 11.

The school's students also will be contributing by helping to set up for the event and by making regular announcements the next two weeks over the school intercom system.

Brown says Perry's ordeal has galvanized the Davis community, and also affected Reynolds Middle School, where Tino's sister, Juanita, is a student.

'It was a heartbreaker that has pulled a community together in support of members of their family,' Brown says.

For more information about the dinner, call 503-665-9193, ext. 1647 or 1605.

Reservations should be made by March 13, although limited tickets may be available at the door.



Perhaps it's only coincidence that efforts to help Anita Perry revolve around food. Another Outlook reader who was moved by Perry's story was Vivian McCoy, who saw our recent article about Perry emerging from a coma.

The Feb. 14 story reported that Perry was hoping to taste fudge as soon as she was able to tolerate solid food. To help satisfy that desire, McCoy - who happened to be a winner in The Outlook's holiday candy-making contest - rode with daughter Connie Otto to Parkrose on Friday to deliver her award-winning fudge to Perry's aunt, whose name, appropriately enough, is Candy Klesalek.

It appears that McCoy's sweet gesture was perfectly timed. Not only was Perry physically ready for solid food, her birthday also was on Saturday.

While spaghetti and fudge are lifting Perry's spirits, big-hearted people also can help in other ways. An account has been set up in Perry's name at US Bank. Donations to the Anita Perry Fund can be made at any of the bank's branches.

Outlook Publisher Mark Garber can be reached at 503-492-5130, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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