While fund-raising efforts continue online for Robbie Badkin, a Lazy Point resident and well-known Montauk welder who has been hospitalized since New Year's, his family and friends are also planning a renovation project at his house in early March, and a fund-raiser is slated for the end of that month.
Mr. Badkin, 51, developed a severe blood infection that caused him to have trouble breathing on Jan. 2. He was put in an induced coma and placed on a ventilator for two weeks. While he regains his strength at the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton, his friends are fixing up his house in anticipation of his return to Napeague.
Volunteers will descend on Mr. Badkin's house the week of March 10. Friends of Mr. Badkin's, including George Gallaway, the owner of the Sail Inn in Montauk, and Joseph Bloecker, a contractor, met with Mr. Badkin's nephew, David Elze, on Sunday night to organize. A sign-up sheet is available at the Sail Inn or 668-2800 can be called to volunteer.
"We're willing to help," Mr. Bloecker said on Monday, adding that he has known Mr. Badkin for 30 years. "He's just an all-around good guy. He doesn't have a bad bone in his body."
Mr. Elze said he has an electrician on board and that he has reached out to some plumbers to donate their time. There are plenty of other tasks to do. "We are looking for anybody who's got any carpenter experience, Spacklers, painters, people who can do finish work -- not just anybody can do a good job," he said.
Mold remediation work has already begun.
Mr. Badkin, who lost 70 pounds and suffers from muscle atrophy, is doing well in his rehabilitation, but his house may need to be made wheelchair-accessible.
"He's getting stronger every day," Mr. Elze said. Doctors estimate he will be able to go home in about four weeks. His application for Medicaid has to go through before the rehabilitation center will release him, according to Mr. Elze.
Mr. Elze has spearheaded fund-raising efforts. Through a GoFundMe campaign, 170 donors have given more than $16,000 in all.
A fund-raiser will be held on March 30 at Inlet Seafood restaurant in Montauk. Sushi and appetizers will be served from 4 to 8 p.m. The cost to eat is $30 at the door. There will also be an art auction and raffles with items donated from local businesses, such as a stay at the Montauk Beach House. There will be no charge for those who just want to attend the auction.