Two Bangs women are raising funds for Lou Ann Hodges, an area horse rider injured May 18 while participating in a charity trail ride for New Horizons.

While raising money for the charity that provides specialized treatment for Texas children removed from their home due neglect, Hodges’ horse reared, fell and rolled over her, which Jeannie Weldon said cost her $90,000 just for the first night’s hospital stay and she hopes the July 1 benefit inside Coggin Park will provide some relief of Hodge’s medical expenses.

“She was injured in the trail ride for New Horizons,” sister Weldon said. “She spent 13 days in the ICU. Nine of them she was totally ventilated and on life support for the majority. She’s doing a little better, but her lung is still collapsed and not re-inflating. She has no insurance and needs help for medicine and travel expenses to get back and forth to the doctor.”

Before the accident, Hodges was a bus driver for special needs students through Brownwood ISD.  Before Brownwood she worked as a bus driver for Bangs ISD. Weldon said Hodges is now stable and able to walk, but she continues to receive breathing treatments, which cost more than $200 per refill. The event begins at noon and will include live music, silent auction, raffle and $10 brisket plates for adults and $5 hotdog plates for children.

“We’re hoping to have lots of families come,” said cousin Ronnie Pankey. “If nothing else, come and enjoy the day with her because she would love it. We called to have her medications filled. We said ‘She has no insurance,’ and they told us ‘We have to special order the inhaler. We ask how much is was and they said ‘It runs about $215.’ At this point, even if someone donates $5 we’re thankful.”

Throughout last week, Weldon and Pankey canvassed the area, going from businesses to business selling raffle tickets for a Yeti Cooler. As they made their way from business to business, they found many receptive to not only assisting with the raffle, but donating items for the silent auction.

“People said ‘Let me contact our main office and come back,’” Pankey said. “We have screwdriver sets, roadside emergency kids from the parts stores. Trans Texas gave a tire rotation, balance oil change and lube. Cullen’s Hometown Market contributed a gift certificate. Bangs was Allsups was awesome. They ordered paper goods and the Bangs grocery store is getting the buns. The Santa Anna grocery is getting our hotdogs and Lee Hoffpauir and the Chipster’s Grill donated our meat.”

Pankey said the fall has taken everything from Hodges. With the exception of one she is rehabilitating, Hodges must sell her remaining horses to cover her medical expenses and the accident also put her out of work.

“It’s killing her. She would do the bus route, then go out to the stables and work,” Pankey said.

Pankey and Weldon asked anyone interested in helping out with July 1 fundraiser can contact them at (325) 220-0228. Those interested in making a direct donation can do that through Texas Bank under Lou Ann Hodges.

“Hopefully, it will raise some money for her and she can get her medicine,” Pankey said. “… Handy Tobacco also has a roll (of raffle tickets). She was formally a smoker and since she cannot patron her business anymore one of the ladies said ‘Are you kidding? Let us do something for you.’ So we gave them a roll of raffle tickets. If you can’t get ahold of us, run out to Handy Tobacco.”