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Power lifting event benefits Ronald McDonald House

Lawrence Pierce
Allen Baria attempts to lift 903 pounds to benefit Ronald McDonald House of Southern West Virginia.
Lawrence Pierce
Allen Baria set a national record of bench-pressing 860 pounds at a fundraising event Saturday for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern West Virginia. The event raised more than $1,500 for the charity.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You could call Allen Baria a heavy supporter of Ronald McDonald House charities.On Saturday, the Charleston resident set a national power lifting record and helped raise more than $1,500 for the Southern West Virginia chapter of the non-profit.Baria bench-pressed 860 pounds, exceeding the previous record of 810 but falling short of his goal of 903."(I was) about 40 pounds shy," Baria said after the attempt.The event was held at the Charleston YMCA.Baria agreed to the fundraising event after RMHC committee member Mike Jarrouj approached him as the two were lifting."I know families who have lost children and who have had to stay at Ronald McDonald houses," Baria said. "It's a great thing."And the event drew attention to power lifting which is not as prevalent in Charleston as it used to be, Baria said.
Jarrouj hopes the event evolves into an annual fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House charities.Baria is also involved with the non-profit agency's annual fundraiser, the McGala, slated for March 23 at Embassy Suites.Those who attended Saturday were asked to donate either a flat amount or a donation based on how many pounds Baria lifted.About 150 people attended and the charity raised between $1,500 and $2,000, Dewayne Dickens, RMHC executive director, said."We had no clue what to expect, so it was a successful event," Dickens said.Each year the local chapter of Ronald McDonald House offers low-cost lodging to 300 to 400 families of children receiving medical treatment, Dickens said."We're thankful that Allen donated his time and talents to raise awareness," Dickens said. 
Reach Lori Kersey at or 304-348-1240.
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