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Benefit for ‘Big Mike’ finding support

Benefit for ‘Big Mike’ finding support

More than 500 tickets have been sold for Sunday’s McGrail family benefit at the Concordia Club.

More than 500 tickets have been sold for Sunday’s McGrail family benefit at the Concordia Club.

Sandy Savage, one of the co-organizers, said the response has been “crazy” and “people have been great.”

Mike “Big Mike” McGrail and his wife, Debbie, are still recovering in the burn unit at University Hospital in Syracuse after a propane explosion leveled their Elmwood Avenue house Oct. 13.

Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door. The event, featuring music and a variety of food, will run from 1 to 5 p.m.

Hot Dog Hut proprietors Todd and Lisa Richard are spearheading the benefit.

The McGrails operate Big Mike’s, a restaurant on North Pine Street on the outskirts of Gloversville. Family members and employees continue to operate Big Mike’s while its namesake recovers.

Savage, a family friend, said Debbie McGrail is making good progress after a skin graft. Her husband developed an infection, Savage said, which complicated his recovery.

“It’s a long haul,” Savage said, emphasizing that overall, “they’re doing fantastic.”

The house exploded as the McGrails were in their cellar investigating a propane leak.

They were briefly trapped under the debris until their son, Michael Jr., and a friend of a neighbor frantically tore through the wreckage to pull them over a cellar wall.

The day after the explosion and subsequent fire, Savage said that the family lost all of its possessions. Neighbors salvaged a few photographs from the remains.

Donations may be made to “Big Mike & Family” at First Niagara Bank.

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