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Friends and co-workers of Rod Hessler will hold a benefit Friday to help him cover medical costs at a Colorado hospital, where he has been since suffering burns on 40 percent of his body after his auto body shop caught fire on Feb. 28.

The event, "An Evening With Friends: A Benefit for Rod and Cindy Hessler," begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the Shrine Auditorium, 1125 Broadwater Ave.

It starts with a happy hour, appetizers, silent auction and Calcutta board, followed by a surf-and-turf dinner at 7 p.m.

At 9 p.m., local band Ellen and the Old School will perform.

Tickets for the show cost $75 each and all proceeds will go to help the Hesslers.

Organizers are also offering a another set of tickets for $20 for admission at 8 p.m. for the silent and live auctions and the band's performance.

The auction includes items donated from local businesses.

Hessler was injured while working at his shop, Al's Body Shop, 1221 Terry Ave., on Feb. 28 when nearby materials caught fire and caused an explosion.

The fire destroyed the shop. Hessler was flown to the University of Colorado Hospital burn unit with burns over 40 percent of his body.

Since then, he has undergone 10 surgeries and continues to recover. While he is insured and could return home this month, the costs of the extended stay continue to mount and his wife, Cindy, has taken off time from her job at Rocky Mountain College to be by his side.

Friends started a benefit fund, the Rod Hessler Fund, at US Bank to gather donations.

Call 406-321-2722 for tickets or more information.

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