Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps veteran Ron Rowe is home from the hospital and recuperating from injuries sustained in a July 6 car crash on Middle Country Road in Calverton.
Rowe stopped by at a fundraiser car wash held for his benefit by RVAC colleagues Saturday afternoon at the Chase bank branch on Route 58 near Wal-Mart.
"My doctor said in about six weeks I should feel 90 percent better," Rowe said through his wired-shut jaw. Rowe had extensive facial surgery July 10 at Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he was airlifted following the accident.
The RVAC board member — its immediate past president and ex-chief — told RiverheadLOCAL Saturday he remembers "bits and pieces" of the horrible crash that injured him and his daughter, RVAC lieutenant and top responder Alyssa, 22. She was a front-seat passenger in Rowe's Chevy pickup when it rear-ended a refrigerator box truck stopped in the westbound lane waiting to make a turn late in the afternoon that Friday.
Alyssa suffered a leg injury and was on crutches at the car wash today with her dad.
Rowe recalled how strange it felt to be "on the other side" of a crash scene like that.
"I remember I was trying to tell people what to do," Rowe said, pushing a good-natured chuckle through his clenched and wired jaw. Alyssa, he said, takes after him and was doing the same thing.
Rowe, 47, had to be extricated from his truck by Riverhead volunteer firefighters, who cut the roof and driver's side door from his Silverado.
Alyssa was treated and released at Stony Brook. The driver of the box truck, identified as Edward Eastman, of Mastic, was not injured, according to police.
"I want to say thanks," Rowe said Saturday. "I just can't say it enough, to everybody...everybody. Thank you."
The amount raised by RVAC at Saturday's car wash was not immediately available. An online fundraiser organized by current RVAC president Kim Pokorny has so far raised almost $3,000.
"Ronnie has served our community so well for so long, helping him out in his time of need is the least we can do," Pokorny told RiverheadLOCAL. "He has three kids in college and a long road ahead of him," she said.
While Rowe, a probation officer, is recovering from his injuries, one of his biggest challenges, he admits, is sitting still.
"I keep looking around at all the yard work I could be doing," he said. "But the doctor said, definitely not."
Rowe suffered numerous facial fractures in the accident. After undergoing extensive surgery at Stony Brook on the 10th, he was released from the hospital on the 13th.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl
Click thumbnails to enlarge images