Southworth co-workers hold benefit chili cook-off

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Winners of the benefit chili cook-off pose with Brian Dawson (center). Proceeds from the chili cook-off went to the Dawson family whose new baby is in ICU at LeBonheur Children's Hospital. Second place winner (left) is Don Ledford and first place winner is Chuck White.

Brian Dawson said when you need the support of your friends, there are none to compare with his co-workers at Southworth Products in Manila.

Brian, a graduate of Manila High School, has worked at Southworth for six and a half years. Brian calls Southworth a wonderful company to work for and he is thankful to be a part of the group.

Southworth employees held a benefit "chili cookoff" on Friday, Jan. 28, with proceeds going to Brian and his family as they are undergoing a serious situation with their new baby, Jaxson Cooper Dawson.

Brian and his wife, Jessica, welcomed their third son, Jaxson, on Jan. 5, 2016. Jaxson was born with Gastroschisis, a birth defect of the abdominal wall where the intestines are outside of the body. Jaxson is in ICU at LeBonheur Children's Hospital. He has undergone seven surgeries in his first three weeks. He will need more surgeries and could be in the hospital for six to seven months.

Brian and his family live in Leachville.

"I work in the UPS office at Southworth and I am sure many of the employees here don't know me well but they have all been wonderful," Brian said. "The money helps, but it is their thoughts and prayers that have kept us going."

Jessica is staying in the hospital with her new baby and Brian tries to get down there every other day. Brian said right after the baby was born, the employees took up money and helped him to meet the deductible on his insurance which was a great help.

As their second round of help employees put together chili cooking teams with seven teams cooking chili Friday and other employees paying for a bowl.

"All of their support has been a blessing," Brian said.

A little competition in the benefit added to the day with trophies presented to the first and second place chili cookers. First place went to Chuck White and second place was won by Don Ledford.

All of the proceeds will go to help Brian and his family.

A card of thanks from the Dawson Family posted on the bulletin board at Southworth expressed his feelings.

"I want to start out to say how thankful I am to work at a company that cares so much for one simple employee. You guys and gals really don't know how much ya'll have touched our hearts in our time of need. I want to thank everyone for their kind words and for the prayers. (Mark 11:24). I am so thankful to all that have donated money, it has kept us afloat and it's made travel a little easier. I hope God will bless each of you as much as all of you have blessed my family." The Dawson Family.

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