Community Holds Fundraiser for Man Brutally Beaten

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WICKLIFFE, OH — It has been an emotional journey for a Northeast Ohio man who spent the last few months recovering from a brutal crime.

On Saturday night, a gathering at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish showed John Rager, 47, just how much he is loved.

Rager, who is mentally challenged, has the best attitude about his situation and is so full of love for his community.

Back on August 14, Rager was walking home from his job on E. 152nd Street in Cleveland when he was brutally attacked by a group of men. Injuries to his brain and body were extremely severe.

“Still going through a lot of therapy. I’m going to a head specialist too,” Rager said.

As the brother and husband regains his strength, he also has the power of prayer within. Many people at Saturday’s event have been thinking of him and depending on faith during this tough time, including Dee Dee, John’s wife.

“She is the love of my life,” Rager said. “If I perished, I don’t know what she would have done,” he added.

“We are letting John and Dee Dee know they are not alone. We’re all in this healing process together and that’s what the communion of prayer is all about,” said Philip Hlabse, who helped organize the event.

After suffering through the horrible beating that almost killed him, Rager tells Fox 8 he is happy to be doing so well. In addition, he has one public request.

“Whoever called 911 on the scene of that accident, please come forward, I’m begging,” Rager said.”I just want to thank you, whoever you are, so much for doing this,” he expressed.

“He had no idea how much people cared for him, he had no idea at all,” said John’s sister, Jimi-Lee Hoover.

As Hoover watched her brother enjoy the dinner, singing and community support on Saturday, she also expressed how important it is for whoever did the crime to come forward.

“They’re still out there and they’re going to do this to someone else,” Hoover said. “Somebody needs to come forward and the community as a whole needs to not hold back information fearing repercussions,” she added.

Police have not made any arrests in this case.

Meanwhile, all of the money raised on Saturday goes to John and Dee Dee for medical expenses.

For extended coverage on this story, click here.

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