Fundraising under way for injured Walla Walla winemaker

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The wine and hospitality industry is pulling out all the stops to help one of its own.

Next week will kick off a series of events at local restaurants, bars and tasting rooms in an effort to support Walla Walla winemaker Dain Dillingham, who was severely injured in a fall around a week ago.

Dilllingham fractured his C5 vertebra in a roughly 15-foot fall on his 28th birthday during a celebration in Seattle. He’s been at Harborview Medical Center receiving care, his brother, Dreux Dillingham said via telephone.

In the days since the fall, a Dain’s Team Facebook page has garnered more than 1,300 followers, and more than $34,500 has been raised toward a goal of $40,000 on YouCaring.com.

Next week more fundraising kicks off Wednesday. Participating restaurants and other venues will offer food and drink specials in Dain Dillingham’s honor. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Dain Dillingham Fund, plus auctions and raffles will be offered throughout.

The series begins at Sapolil Cellars, where Nick Spencer will lead open mic night.

That will be followed Thursday at Brasserie 4; Friday at Bacon & Eggs; Saturday at The Green Lantern; Sunday at Public House 124; and Monday at Vintage Cellars with Spencer leading open mic night there.

A Lawrence, Kan., native, Dillingham was a standout student and athlete, his brother said. He spend a year at Drake University in Des Moines and then three years at Baker University just outside of Lawrence. He played basketball there. He is also a versatile writer, poet and avid reader.

Following in the footsteps of his older brother, who came here in 2005, Dain came to Walla Walla in 2008. He worked harvest and got his foot in the wine industry. He worked at custom crush facility Artifex for four and a half years before accepting an assistant winemaking position with Aryn Morell, a consulting winemaker.

Dreux Dillingham said fundraising opportunities are planned in virtually every community Dain spent time. His brother began rehabilitation Thursday and is progressing well. “He’s a multi-talented kid who still has and will be able to maintain those interests and purse them,” Dreux said. To learn more about the fundraisers, follow along on the Dain’s Team page, which also links to the fundraising site.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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