When Dale and Lisa O’Keefe of Mason Wisconsin headed up Camp Brook Rd in Bethel on their 1994 Harley Davidson, July 14th they never expected what was coming.
Gustavo Chang, 22, had just purchased a 1962 Impala and was driving it home to Manchester NH. As he rolled down the steep winding road, Chang discovered he couldn’t slow the car. To avoid hitting the car in front of him – a car his friend was driving -- he attempted to pass as he went around a corner.
Chang hit the O’Keefe’s motorcycle as they rode up the hill. During the impact, Dale’s left foot was severed and Lisa’s left leg was amputated just below the knee.
Both were transported to Gifford Medical Center. Lisa was later air lifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock hospital where she spent the weeks recovering.
By the end of August, the couple was looking forward to getting home to Wisconsin, but neither could drive and flying was too difficult. Lisa’s mom, who had flown out to be with her during her recovery, could drive, but she didn’t have a car.
Mary Swartz, who lives on the road where the O’Keefe’s were injured, had befriended them during their recovery. Mary wanted to help the O’Keefe’s, so she emailed Motorcycle-Vermont looking for a resource that could help. We put her in contact with David Pearson and Tim White, Directors of the Moose Foundation.
“It was a perfect one for us,” said Tim White. “These are exactly the kinds of people we help”.
The Moose Foundation helps motorcyclists who have been injured in an accident. To qualify, the injured must have been riding a motorcycle, have a valid motorcycle endorsement on their license and had to be sober at the time of the accident.
The Foundation typically helps with things that don’t get covered in any other way. For the O’Keefe’s it was renting a car so Lisa’s mom could drive them home.
The Foundation has helped a dozen riders in the past 3-4 years. They typically give $2,000-$2,500 to cover bills that aren’t covered by insurance or other sources.
“We just try to do the little things that make it easier for you to recover,” said David Pearson.
Examples include eyeglasses, a wheel chair ramp or in the case of the O’Keefe’s help with transportation home. They typically pay a specific bill, rather than give cash, to simplify the accounting.
If you know of someone who has been injured and qualifies for help contact the Moose Foundation by sending email to Info@Moosefund.org or call (802) 878-4778.
The Moose Foundation is entirely funded by your donations. You can support the Moose Foundation by making a donation through their web site or by purchasing a Damn Moose t-shirt. T-shirts are available for $20 through Green Mountain Harley Davidson in Essex Junction.