MOUNT VERNON — Friends and neighbors of an apple grower who was killed last week when a car hit him as he rode his lawn tractor are organizing a weekend fundraiser in the orchard the man loved.

Emily Webber, who grew up next door to Manley Damren and his family, said the Family Fun Days, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Mount Nebo Orchard at 416 Wings Mills Road, is being held to offset funeral expenses and to provide heating and tax assistance for Damren’s wife of 57 years, Barbara Damren.

The apple orchard lost about a week’s worth of picking after the accident. Damren, 76, was driving a John Deere lawn tractor along Wings Mills Road when Charles Morse, 60, of Mount Vernon, drove up from behind in a 2002 Subaru Outback and hit the tractor.

“We just want to try to give her a boost and help her along,” Webber said.

Manley Damren’s death on Sept. 4 rocked the close-knit community, particularly those who live on Wings Mills Road. Many of those neighbors have stepped forward to help keep the orchard running during this the peak of the picking season. Friends are taking shifts picking apples to stock the Damren’s fruit stand and are working at the stand to sell the fruit and weigh the apples of those who choose to pick their own.

Webber hopes the Family Fun Days will make up for lost business and let people know the orchard has reopened. The business will remain open through the remainder of the picking season, Webber said.

“We’re trying to get two people per day,” she said. “We’re trying to keep the same things they had going before.”

The Family Fun Days, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, will include balloons, face-painting, an apple toss and a bounce house. Area businesses have donated items to be given away in drawings open to those who give a donation.

The orchard will be open for picking, Webber said. Apples cost 60 cents per pound.

Webber, who was overwhelmed by the community’s desire to help when her family’s house burned down last year, has seen the same commitment to helping the Damrens.

“Our community is outstanding,” she said.

For more information, contact Emily Webber at 458-3777 or [email protected]

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]