Small town residents have banded together and are organizing a fundraising softball tournament to help offset the costs incurred by a man injured in a benefit fundraiser in Guy earlier this month.

Dustin Hayes was injured while playing in a benefit fundraiser to support the Guy-Perkins Lady T-Birds softball team earlier this month. He lost consciousness several times after being hit in the face by a softball and was taken to Conway Regional Medical Center in Conway for treatment, where he later underwent surgery.

The ball was traveling at approximately 75 mph when it struck Hayes.

Following what other residents have described as a “freak accident,” Hayes’ nose was shattered and septum was split in half.

The U.S. Army vet is a Guy-Perkins graduate who referees the district’s high school sporting events and supports its athletic teams.

Organizer Lacey Blair Wilson said Guy residents understand that Hayes’ medical insurance will not fully cover the medical costs he’s incurred and have since planned a fundraising tournament on his behalf.

“We’re a small town and having a big heart is what we’re kind of known for,” Wilson said of the decision to help Hayes and his family.

The co-ed tournament will be held Sept. 21 at Guy City Park. The tournament is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Sept. 21, and the deadline to register is at noon Sept. 19.

Teams should be composed of six men and six women. Registration costs are $200 per team.

The tournament will feature a homerun derby at $10 for 10 swings. Wilson said organizers also will sell 50/50 tickets during the event. Tickets for the 50/50 fundraiser are $1 each or $5 for 6 tickets. Money from 50/50 tickets portion of the fundraiser will be divided evenly — half of the funds will support the Hayes Family and the other half will be raffled among attendees. Whoever holds the ticket that matches the ticket organizers draw from the pot receives the other half of the funds.

Organizers hope to raise at least $2,500 for the Hayes Family.

“He has supported us throughout the years … this is a way we can help support him in return,” Wilson said.

Hayes said he is thankful for the outpouring of support he and his family have received following this tragedy.

“It was a little shocking to say the least,” Hayes said of learning the Guy community had banded together to raise money for him.

Hayes remembers the day he was injured vividly. The Greenbrier resident was participating in a fundraiser for the school’s softball team and was running toward second base when suddenly, he was struck in the face and knocked to the ground.

“I was running to second and the guy threw [the ball] from third to second [base] to try to get me out,” Hayes recalled. “Instead of the girl at second catching the ball, it hit me in the face instead.”

Not only was he thankful for the community’s support following this accident, Hayes also said he was grateful for Dr. Collie Shaw’s expertise.

Once the initial swelling of the harsh impact began to subside, Shaw was able to realign the bone and “put everything back where it needed to be.”

Eight days passed from the day Hayes was hit in the face before he could begin to chew food again. While he is still recovering from the reconstructive surgery, Hayes said his wife, Anna, and the couple’s two children have been incredibly helpful.

“My wife and kids really took care of me,” he said.

Nick Dorado, a Guy resident and close friend of Hayes, is helping organize the tournament.

Hayes has played an influential role in the Guy-Perkins community through the years, Dorado said, adding that Hayes always goes beyond what is requested of him to help others in need.

“Dustin has donated to functions at Guy-Perkins high school as well as Greenbrier,” Dorado said. “He and his family are always willing to lend a helping hand and are always willing to go the extra mile. Now that he needs help, even if you can’t monetarily or if you don’t want to play, you can always come donate time, or come watch a great day of softball. We will have vendors on site as well.”

Players of the teams who claim the Top 2 slots during the tournament will receive free T-shirts.

Brackets will be posted Sept. 19.

For more information about the event or to register a team, call Dorado at 501-556-2701.

More information about the event can also be found online at https://www.facebook.com/events/ical/upcoming/?uid=506202408&key=AQDWf5RMlfhzUN75