Fundraiser generates thousands for Pahrump burn victims

The word ‘successful,’ would be a modest term to describe how a car wash fundraiser fared on Sunday, as upward of $6,000 was raised during the four-hour event.

The appeal for funds was to benefit the families of two local boys severely burned during an early morning bonfire mishap on Sunday, Dec. 3.

Nathaniel Bautista-Cleveland and Chase Otteson both sustained second and third-degree burns over most of their bodies, after a flammable accelerant was introduced to the bonfire.

Both were active in the Pahrump Youth Sports program, founded by local resident Johnny O’Neal, who thanked all of the volunteers for their respective efforts.

“We had a lot of people show up to help out and we had even more people show up to do the car wash and the bake sale,” he said afterward. “The amount of support was just overwhelming. It was just awesome.”

Normally an optimist, O’Neal did admit he was quite surprised at how many people supported the undertaking.

He actually lost count of how many vehicles were serviced during the event.

“It was so busy that I couldn’t put a number on how many cars we washed on Sunday,” he admitted. “We generated $6,000 for the boys. You have to consider that this was on a Sunday and we only did it for four hours. I still have no idea how many cars went through there, but it was non-stop from the time we started until the last car left. We had many more cars show up than what I originally expected for Sunday.”

O’Neal also gave credit to two board members of the youth sports program who came up with the idea of the car wash fundraiser, after learning what happened to the boys.

“It was Amber Haux who suggested that we put on a bake sale and car wash,” he recalled. “Amber was the one who put everything together and she talked to a bunch of people and locked down a place for us to do it. She also talked to people who were interested in donating their time for the bake sale. Without Amber’s help, we couldn’t have done it. The other board member who really stepped up for this event was Heidi Horibe.”

Christy Nilson is the owner of ‘The Other Vape Shop,’ who hosted the fundraiser at 1531 S. Highway 160.

Nilson said she did not hesitate when approached about the request to hold the event at her business.

“Amber asked if they could utilize our front parking lot for the car wash and I told her absolutely she could and I asked what else I could do to help,” she said. “They did most of the work. I just provided the venue and helped as much as I possibly could. Being a parent, it was one of the most horrific things I have ever learned about here in town in a long time. To know what those boys are going through and suffering through right now, just breaks my heart. The youth sports program is more than welcome to use this location again for additional fundraisers.”

Nilson’s words were not lost on O’Neal as additional fundraisers are also in the works, at present.

“We are not done,” he said. “Pahrump Youth Sports will get together with either the middle school or Manse Elementary. We will put together some type of fundraising dinner in January. We have a lot more stuff planned because these kids have a long recovery road ahead of them. Anything that we could do, we certainly will.”

O’Neal also noted that the prognosis for both boys is quite positive.

“According to updates from family members, things are looking really good for the boys as far as their recovery is concerned,” he said. “We also post all of that information on our web page for people to check out. It’s on pahrumpyouthsports.com, as well as our Facebook page.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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