by Sheila Gardner

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February 14, 2014
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Officers, firefighters line up for benefit dodgeball tourney

The T-shirts have arrived, and practice is underway for Friday’s epic dodgeball tournament between Douglas County sheriff’s officers and East Fork firefighters to benefit the wife of an investigator who is undergoing cancer treatment.

Sgt. Bernadette Smith, who is coordinating the event with Brian Trute of East Fork Fire District, said the game at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School has blossomed into a community event.

In addition to the tournament, the evening includes a raffle, silent auction, food concession, bake sale, appearance by Miss Douglas County Alisa Merino, dancers, and the National Anthem sung by Olivia Swearingen.

Youth services officer Deputy Doug Midkiff is master of ceremonies.

The event is 6-8:30 p.m. at the Gardnerville Ranchos middle school, 601 Long Valley Road.

Elisa Storke, 33, beneficiary of the event, said she is overwhelmed by the community support.

She is the wife of DCSO Investigator Jon Storke, and was diagnosed in November with stage 4 metastatic melanoma.

“We just need positive thoughts and prayers,” she said. “We are overwhelmed and eternally grateful for the support and the way the community has stepped up to help.”

The Storkes stopped by Pau-Wa-Lu on Wednesday with their 9-month-old son Dylan, and Sandy Storke, Jon’s mother who shares child care with Elisa’s mother.

They returned Tuesday from San Francisco, where Elisa is undergoing treatment, with promising news.

“The tumors are shrinking — just by millimeters — but the news is encouraging. I am feeling more hopeful,” she said. “The medicine is starting to kick in.”

Elisa’s current medication costs $22,000 a month, and her insurance requires the Storkes to pay 40 percent.

Smith’s goal is to raise enough money from the tournament to prepay Dylan’s college education at University of Nevada, Reno, where Elisa is a doctoral student and a full-time instructor in the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages program.

Since her diagnosis, Elisa has been unable to work.

Smith said donations and sponsorships continue to pour in from the community.

So far, she has three teams from the sheriff’s office and two from East Fork for the tournament. The games will be refereed by the parks and recreation department and will follow amateur dodgeball rules.

Trophies, donated by Accolades Trophies and Engraving and Intero Real Estate Services, will be awarded to the first- and second-place teams.

Tickets are $20 per family, $10 per individual, and will be available at the door as well as locations around the Valley.

T-shirts will be on sale at the tournament for $15 each.

Smith said she was elated at all the support; she even had a inquiry from someone on the East Coast who heard about the tournament and wanted to make a donation.

She said raffle and auction items could be accepted through Wednesday, and dropped off at the sheriff’s office, 1038 Buckeye Road, Minden.

For information, or to make donations, contact Smith at:

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The Record Courier Updated Feb 14, 2014 05:20PM Published Feb 14, 2014 05:20PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.