By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer
CHEVIOT - Edward Wright Sr. showed up at Cheviot Fieldhouse the day after Thanksgiving with an American flag and a photograph of his son, who was killed in Iraq in September.
It was a Monte Carlo benefit for his son's widow, Alina Wright, and their unborn child, who is due Dec. 16.
The senior Wright never expected so many people - as many as 150 - to show up for the fund-raiser and auction held in honor of Sgt. James C. Wright, 27, of Delhi Township.
"I was just overwhelmed by the outpouring of support," Wright said. "These people didn't even know us. They just told me, 'I heard about your son and wanted to do something.'"
The benefit raised more than $5,200 for Alina Wright, organizers said this week.
The benefit went so well that organizers hope to make the Friday-after-Thanksgiving Monte Carlo an annual event to benefit west-side residents in need.
Susan Weitzel, who helped organize the benefit, said they want to call the yearly fund-raiser "The Helping Hand."
A check will be presented to James Wright's brother, Eddie Wright, next week.
Wright's widow is also a soldier, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. She's from Morgan, Texas.
James Wright entered the Marines in 1996, serving four years on a tour that took him to Bosnia, Greece and Italy. He met his wife while they both were stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. - where she also was in the Marines at the time.
After both finished four-year tours in the Marines in 2000, they lived in Delhi Township until April 2001, when they moved to Waco, Tex., where James Wright worked as a landscape-equipment operator.
But after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, both were prompted to re-enter the military and joined the U.S. Army.
Donations can be made at any Fifth Third Bank branch, to the James Wright Memorial Fund.
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