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Originally published September 25, 2013 at 5:53 PM | Page modified September 25, 2013 at 6:40 PM

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Friends start fund for man found unconscious in Belltown

Friends have set up a fund to help Rory Burks, of Seattle, found unconscious on a Belltown sidewalk with his phone and wallet missing Sept. 15.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Recognize these people?

Anyone who recognizes people in a surveillance video released by Seattle police, or who has any information about the Rory Burks case, is asked to call the police Robbery Unit at 206-684-5535.

The video is posted at:

Information on the fund friends set up to help Burks is at:

Uploaded to YouTube by SPD Blotter

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Friends of Rory Burks, a former Coast Guardsman found seriously injured on a Belltown sidewalk Sept. 15 — a case in which police have asked for the public’s assistance — have started a fund to help pay his medical expenses.

“He’s one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met and one of the smartest,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Zane Satovich, who is based in Portland, Maine.

From 2008 to 2011, Satovich and Burks, who lives in Seattle, served aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Midget, tracking down drug smugglers as part of an international effort off the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Colombia.

Satovich said Burks, 33, who was also a petty officer first class, not only could run sophisticated surveillance equipment aboard the ship, but trained others in its use.

“He’s just a great guy,” Satovich said. “If he knew someone was in need, he’d be the first one to step up and help.”

Now, it is Burks who needs help.

He was found unconscious, without his phone or wallet, near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Lenora Street early in the morning Sunday, Sept. 15, after leaving a wedding reception, still wearing a tuxedo.

He has been moved out of an intensive-care unit at Harborview Medical Center and is listed in satisfactory condition, but there’s “still a long road ahead for him,” said Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

Burks’ mother, Una Ripley, of Lakewood, Pierce County, said she’s been told her son faces more than a year of treatment and rehabilitation to recover from his brain injury.

“I’m just thankful he’s alive,” said Ripley, who has spent much of the past 10 days in his hospital room.

She said he has made daily progress but at times seems still frightened that someone is trying to hurt him.

Burks recently left the Coast Guard, planned to go back to school and has minimal health coverage, his mother said.

On Tuesday, Seattle police released a surveillance video that appears to show Burks a short time before he was hurt.

Mark Jamieson, police spokesman, said detectives have not concluded that three people visible in the video attacked Burks, but police would like to interview them to find out what they might have seen.

Anyone who recognizes people in the video or has any information about the case is asked to call the police Robbery Unit at 206-684-5535.

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or

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