Jerry and I flew home from CA on July 1, 2004 – 6 weeks after our accident. My parents picked us up at the airport in a wheel-chair accessible van. When we got off at the Morgantown exit of the PA turnpike, I saw a police officer in his car with the lights. I wondered if there was a problem on the road below. I was confused as my dad pulled our van up behind the officer’s car and got out to go talk to him. It was at this time that I realized there was a surprise in store for me.
My friend Lynne had asked me if they could do some type of ‘welcome home’ celebration for me. Never one to turn down a party or celebration, I agreed. But since none of us knew how I would feel after the flight home, she assured me they wouldn’t do anything that required any energy on my part. When Lynne and her husband Lynn (yes, they are Lynne and Lynn) decide to plan an event, they plan an event! No small scale stuff for them. They had not only rallied my family and friends, but the whole town by getting stories in the local papers about my accident and homecoming.
Reading Eagle – July 2, 2004
With the police car escort, complete with lights and sirens, and the traffic stopped in both directions, we slowly drove through the main street of Morgantown. Both sides of the street where lined with family, friends and people from the community welcoming me home. I was doing the best ‘parade wave’ I could, while being amazed at the hundreds of people I was seeing. I said hi to some, smiled at most, hugged a few and waved to all. Sitting behind me, Jerry was almost as amazed as me. Lynne had included him in the planning, but he never anticipated so many people.
We were blessed by the love and support of the community. (Thank you all!) People that we knew well, people we didn’t know well and some we had only meet once or twice, all came to welcome us home and wish me well. I would have loved to drive back and forth on Main Street all night seeing and reconnecting with everyone. But I needed to get out of that wheelchair and into a bed, so we did one slow drive through town and went home.
Dan Kelly from the Reading Eagle wrote an article about the event – I recently contacted him to let him know that I’d recovered well and was running again. He emailed this morning and wants to do a follow-up article about me. I will be meeting him for some running photos and an interview next Thursday or Friday. Pray for a beautiful warm day – I hate being outside in the cold!