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Farrell’s Brea Grand Opening benefits troops

The old-fashioned ice cream parlor’s opening party is doubling as a fundraiser for local military

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: December 23, 2011 10:30 AM

Tonight, the new Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant location opening in Brea is turning its usual grand opening VIP party into a fundraiser. The old-fashioned restaurant, with locations throughout Southern California, is teaming up with Yorba Linda-based military nonprofit Heroes and Patriots to raise funds for a party for military personnel who are deploying to Afghanistan.

Attending tonight’s VIP party will be local celebrities and government officials, as well as prominent representatives from local businesses. Another VIP attending the festivities is Sgt. 1st Class Michael Schlitz, who will lead the fundraising.

Sgt. Schlitz was a passenger in a vehicle on a tour in Iraq in 2007 when an IED struck the vehicle, killing the driver, gunner and medic on board. Schlitz was thrown from the vehicle, but caught on fire. When he was rescued, he had burns over more than 85 percent of his body. A double amputee as a result of his injuries, he has undergone a number of surgeries, first to save his life, and then to repair the damage caused by the burns and scarring.

Sgt. Schlitz is now a part of Operation Proper Exit, a part of the Troops First Foundation, which gives wounded veterans the opportunity to return to the battlefields where they were injured in order to gain psychological closure and to aid them in their recovery. He now travels for speaking engagements for the organization.

The send-off party for troops is scheduled for Jan. 7 and will take place at the Farrell’s restaurants in Brea and Mission Viejo. Heroes and Patriots will coordinate transportation for 1,000 active-duty men and women to the restaurants, where they will be treated to food, drinks and fun. Many of the military personnel attending the party are scheduled to depart for Afghanistan the next day.

The restaurant officially opens to the public on Monday, Dec. 26.

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