TONY AUSTIN, owner of Frank’s Restaurant and Pub, shows off his socks for Wednesday’s Rock Your Socks fundraiser.

TONY AUSTIN, owner of Frank’s Restaurant and Pub, shows off his socks for Wednesday’s Rock Your Socks fundraiser.

LISBON

Traci and Tony Austin wanted to raise more than just awareness on World Down Syndrome Day.

The owners of Frank’s Restaurant and Pub hosted a Rock Your Socks fundraiser Wednesday to benefit Lisbon unified sports. Unified sports pairs athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Many Maine high schools, including Lisbon, have unified basketball teams.

Staff and customers supported the event by wearing colorful socks. Socks were on also on sale for a $5 contribution. In addition to the socks, 10 percent of all receipts at Frank’s Wednesday went to the cause.

The Austins decided to get involved when they learned about the day from friend Norm Albert, whose daughter has Down syndrome. Albert uses the day to go to his daughter’s school and talk to her fellow students.

“My wife and I go in the classrooms and talk about it,” said Albert. “We want to create a culture that’s inclusive for everyone.”

He said students at Lisbon Community School have been inclusive, and were receptive to the conversation. Students at the high school also showed support for the cause Wednesday, as a collection raised $187.

“We just want to raise awareness,” said Albert. “Many of the social stigmas attached to Down syndrome are long gone.”

In advance of the day, the Austins put together a raffle. Traci said they received donations from most Main Street businesses for the St. Patrick’s Day raffle, which raised $820. She noted that Crafts Cars made a donation of $200 to start the day.

“When there’s a cause like this, the community rallies,” said Traci Austin. “It’s a great place to be.”

And, before the day’s events had begun, the community had already raised more than $1,000 for the cause. Frank’s was near capacity by 6 p.m., with many customers picking out a colorful sock before sitting down to dinner or a drink.

“It all came together out of that great friendship,” said Albert. “It speaks to the type of people they are.”

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