Long road to recovery

About two months ago, Chris and Lauren (Gillett) Blair were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident near Clyde. Their truck left the road, struck a utility pole and rolled. Lauren’s injuries were not life-threatening, but Chris was ejected from the vehicle and he was left with his lower body paralyzed.

Families of the Blairs have organized a fundraising benefit to help the couple with medical bills. It is set for 1-5 p.m. Sunday at 925 E. TR 143, Tiffin, the residence of Lauren’s aunt and uncle, Darlene and Mike Adelsperger. Darlene and her sister, Carol Pence, have been distributing fliers to promote the event.

Lauren and Chris graduated from Old Fort High School and Clyde High School, respectively. Pence said the Blairs are lucky to be alive, considering the force of the accident. The night of the crash, Chris was flown to University of Toledo Hospital on Life Flight. Now, he is in rehabilitation at Elmwood at the Springs.

“They had a guardian angel with them,” Darlene said.

“They did surgery on him and put two rods in his back,” Pence explained. “He’s been really positive, but now the infections have started.”

The sisters are hoping Chris will be well enough to come to the benefit with Lauren. Married less than a year, the young couple had no health insurance coverage for Chris, because he had just started a new job. When he adjusts to his condition, he will have to find a different kind of employment. He is 27 years old and a paraplegic.

“He can use his arms and he does like to do woodworking,” Pence said.

Some of Chris’ wood projects are likely to be included in the auction or raffles at the fundraiser. Kids’ games and activities are planned, along with food, silent and live auctions, “kiss a pig” and a bake sale.

“Lauren’s a good little baker, so something she’s made will be in the auction,” Pence said.

Classic Trendz, the duo of Deb McGee and Mark Wilkins, is to perform live music. A Fremont-based band, Last of the Wildmen, also is to be there. The group includes Kyle Kirchenbauer, Jimmie Getty, Matthew Grabowski, Samuel Miller and Phil Tabor. They have recorded at Northcoast Studios in Fremont.

“This group is really renowned. They were just on a Cleveland TV station,” Pence said. “They’re folky and they have such a following.”

Those who come to the benefit should bring lawn chairs. People who cannot attend can make donations to an account set up for the Blairs at Fremont Federal Credit Union. To donate an auction item or for more information, call Pence at (419) 986-5848, Darlene at (419) 618-3520 or Laurie at (419) 937-6563.