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Injured Depauw man plans homecoming

2 fundraisers for Whittaker family

September 26, 2012 | 09:53 AM

The Depauw man who was critically injured last month when he struck a deer while riding his ATV anticipates being able to go home tomorrow (Thursday).

Trevor Whittaker, 33, was injured Aug. 24 while riding his new ATV to work at Van Winkle's Tire Service in Ramsey. He was airlifted to University Hospital in Louisville, where he remained in the Intensive Care Unit until Sept. 3, when he was moved to another wing of the hospital. Several days later, he was transferred to Frazier Rehab in Louisville, where he has been receiving therapy.

On Monday, Whittaker, who is a major with the Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept., was practicing getting in and out of a vehicle in preparation of being released to go home. He will continue therapy on an out-patient basis.

His wife, the former Lynn Kellum, said Monday that her husband "is meeting and surpassing many of the goals that his speech, occupational and physical therapists have set for him.

"The nerve pain in his foot at this point is his main setback," she said. "He does have one muscle in his left leg that is still not receiving a signal from the brain to contract."

Fundraisers have been held to raise money to help the Whittakers with medical expenses. Two more are planned in the next couple of weeks.

On Saturday, S & S PowerSports, located at 700 U.S. 31 E. in Clarksville, will have a chili supper as part of its fall open house and ATV safety day. All proceeds from the chili supper will go to the Whittaker family.

The following Saturday, Oct. 6, will be the Trevor Whittaker Benefit Bike Ride (rain date will be Saturday, Oct. 13). The motorcycle ride will begin and end at Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept. Station No. 2 in New Salisbury.

"Trevor's always been someone you could count on," said Charles (Chuck) Conrad, the lead organizer of the event who met Whittaker 13 years ago through response runs when Conrad started working at Harrison County Hospital Emergency Medical Services.

"This was something I could do for him," Conrad said of his friend. "He does so much for the community. Sometimes guys who help us need help back."

Registration for ride will take place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., with kickstands up at 11.

"Participants need to have a valid driver's license and should bring it with them, and they should obey all Indiana traffic laws while on the ride," Conrad said. "Helmets are recommended."

The entry fee is $30 per ride and $10 per passenger. Pre-registration is not required.

"We don't mind if they call ahead of time, but it's not necessary," Conrad said.

The approximate 120-mile is expected to take three to four hours and will include two stops, one each in St. Croix and Eckerty, before returning to the firehouse.

Participants should plan to eat before commencing on the ride; however, riders will be treated to food at the conclusion of the ride. Brown Electric is donating pulled pork, hot dogs and hamburgers. Donations of side dishes are welcome.

"We hope to get more food donations," Conrad said.

Persons not riding are welcome to eat, at $7 per person, with those proceeds also going to the Whittaker family.

There will be several other opportunities to help raise funds for Whittaker, such as a "bug splatter" and $40 raffle for riders, a 50-50 drawing, silent auction and other raffles, including a set of cornhole boards and a quilt.

Organizers are still seeking donations for the auction and raffles.

"I'm not going to turn anything away," Conrad said.

The biker Chihuahuas Coco and Skor will attend the Oct. 6 event, and there could be other guest appearances, Conrad said.

And, the event could make the Guiness Book of Worlds Records for the most number of motorcycles in a parade formation.

"Our goal is to get the Whittaker family into the record books for this," Conrad said.

There currently isn't a category for such an event, but Guiness officials have sent ride organizers the necessary paperwork and instructions so they can enter it.

"The community support for Trevor and his family has been wonderful," Conrad said.

For details about the ride, check out the event's Facebook page at Trevor Whittaker Benefit Ride.

Tomorrow night, at 8 p.m. at the firehouse in New Salisbury, there will be a planning meeting. Conrad said he needs an ambulance crew for the ride and a fire crew to lead riders back to the firehouse from the Milltown area. Anyone interested is urged to attend tomorrow's meeting or call Conrad. Others who would like to volunteer to help with food services, raffle drawings, registration and general support are welcome to attend, too.

For other information, call Conrad at 572-3287, Ned Wiseman at 736-6379 or Casey Houser at 267-1872.

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