MANSON - Army Reservist Sgt. Tasha Gerken, of Manson, will have hand surgery May 18 to repair damage done in a accident Sept. 15, 2010, at Camp Atterbury near Indianapolis, Ind.
A benefit on her behalf will be Saturday at Manson Northwest Webster High School.
"She's had two surgeries so far, with two or three more to come," said Sue Gerken, mother of Tasha Gerken and her twin sister, Ashley. Both girls are truck drivers for the 88 Mikes with the 217th transportation company out of San Antonio, Texas.
Ashley Gerken will leave Iowa early that Saturday morning to rejoin her unit at Arifjat, Kuwait - all missions go into Iraq - but Tasha Gerken will be in Manson from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for the benefit.
Tasha Gerken was injured at her mobilization camp, Camp Atterbury, when she was teaching new soldiers how to winch a tank onto a trailer. Because of miscommunication, her hands got caught between the trailer and the pulley. She lost three fingers on her right hand and severely damaged her left hand.
She won't know until after all surgeries are complete if she'll be able to stay in the Army or continue in her civilian job as a police officer for Copperas Cove, Texas, Sue Gerken said.
Although still in service, "She really can't do anything now," Sue Gerken said. "She shows up for formation every day, but that's about it. She shows up for therapy every day."
Tasha Gerken had planned to be in Manson from May 6 through the 14th, her mother said, "but, she has to show up in court on May 9 for somebody she arrested for drugs. She's not really liking sitting behind the desk not being able to do anything. She's getting a little frustrated about it."
Funds raised at Saturday's benefit will help the 24-year-old soldier with living expenses until her hands heal.
The benefit will start at 2 p.m., and a pork loin meal will be served until 5:30 p.m. for a freewill donation. A silent auction will run from 2 to 5:30 p.m., and a live auction will start at 5:30 p.m. Items in the live auction include two free hotel passes, an autographed Iowa State University football, restaurant gift certificates and a child's rocking chair.
Anyone with items to donate for either auction may contact Amanda Herrmann-Trice at (712) 210-7047 or Sherri Gangsted at 408-2999. Donations may be made to the Sgt. Tasha Gerken Benefit Fund, in care of the Manson State Bank, 1001 Main St., Manson, IA 50563.
The Gerken twins are 2005 graduates of Manson Northwest Webster High School.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com