A helmet is hardly de rigueur cocktail wear, but when Gray Matters was the beneficiary of Red Snapper’s guest bartender largesse in June, it was what all the best-dressed guests were wearing.
Gray Matters is Mercy Regional Health Center’s push to increase helmet usage and educate the community about the risks of traumatic brain injury inherent in many of the sports we, especially children and young people, so love to play. It’s not just getting people to wear a helmet but getting them to wear the right helmet that fits correctly for the recreational pursuit involved. And, it’s about providing helmets for those who can’t get them for financial or other reasons.
You can tell I’m really busy, because decreasing the incidence of traumatic brain injury is a passion of mine, and I’ve barely written about Gray Matters.
My dad, Charlie Butler, suffered major traumatic brain injuries in a car accident in 1993, so I have lived with the actuality of what a TBI really means. He required 24-hour supervision and care for the next 11 years, going from a vibrant and active life to constantly being angry and afraid as his damaged brain struggled to make sense of the world.
His injuries wouldn’t have been prevented by a helmet. But when he was at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver, I saw patient after patient with TBIs from riding motorcycles and bicycles without a helmet, TBIs from skiing or playing sports such as football without a helmet. Young people, mostly, whose lives would never be the same.
I think anyone who has ever spent time with a friend or loved one who has suffered a traumatic brain injury would agree with me that it just isn’t worth the risk of playing without a helmet.
Will it always save your life? No. Will it keep you from being injured? Not necessarily. But will it give you a better shot at walking away or minimizing your injury?
“You bet your sweet bippy,” as the folks on “Laugh-In” used to say.
So after that public service announcement, back to the fun at Red Snapper. For at least two years, “guest” bartenders have manned the bar, with tips and donations going to the cause. I have it on good authority that real bartenders (in other words, professionals who actually know how to mix cocktails) are on hand to be sure patrons whose orders go beyond wine, beer and Scotch on the rocks get the libation – or potent potable, as “Jeopardy” would have it – they requested.
It’s always a fun time for folks to get together, socialize and strategize for getting the word out about their project or program and how they help our community.
The guest bartenders included Dr. Jack McManus, Mercy’s medical director of the Emergency Department, who has personally seen TBIs change people’s lives (and not in a good way); Tom Gessel, CEO of Mercy; Beth Drum, senior vice president of Alpine Bank and a board member of both Mercy Medical Center and the Mercy Health Foundation; and Laurie Sigillito, owner of FastSigns.
They raised $700 in just two hours from tips and a portion of the drink proceeds.
It’s been a good summer for Gray Matters. The Durango City Council declared June 16 Gray Matters Day.
And Sigillito and FastForward Media produced a video encouraging parents to have “The Talk.” BP helped make it possible. Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=FB5bDuwALZ0 (or I just Googled “Gray Matters FastForward”) to see the video.
If you missed the fun at the Snapper, visit www.mercydurango.org/MDU/Wellness/Gray-Matters/ for more information or to support Mercy in its campaign to help young people in our community protect their gray matter.
Thanks go to Andrea Litzow for helping pull the information together for this item.
Looking forward to some primo August weather for their birthdays are Suzanne Sullivan, Doug Mason, Wanda Ollier, Mary Chapel, Nancy Peake, Gordon Thomas, Debbe Speck, Cheryl Birchard, Evan Hening, John Priaulx, Shirley Newby, Lillian Ciluffo, Jacob Hoffman, Bob Sieger, Raymond Walker, Koltin Bassett, Stephanie Bowles, Renny Young, Maren Stransky, Dianne Millarch, Susan Johnson, Jeri Ludwig, Gracie Goldman, Beau Smith, Kyler Harbison, Justin Markley, Jeff Davis, Pat Wainwright and Lynda Berger.
Bud and Jeani Poe are two proud grandparents. Their grandson, Trevor Weaser, was a member of the U.S. rowing team that won the bronze medal in the 2014 Under 23 World Rowing Championships.
The Americans evaluated 26 young champion rowers to determine who should represent our country in the event, which was held in Varese, Italy. Sitting in Seat 6, Weaser helped his team complete the 2,000-meter (about 1¼ miles) row in 5:32.180. New Zealand won the gold with 5:28:820, with Australia crossing the finish line for the silver with a time of 5:30:450.
In an interesting geopolitical note, Ukraine, which came in 13th, edged Russia out by just under a second.
Weaser just graduated from Northeastern University in Boston with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and history.
He grew up rowing in Indiana at The Culver Academies, where his father, Guy Weaser, runs the rowing program. (They finished third in the father-and-son double sculls at the 2007 USRowing Masters National Championships.) Trevor Weaser also made it to the finals of the 2013 Henley Royal Regatta in the Ladies Plate Challenge 8. Rowing in the Henley is a huge honor, as it’s by invitation, and Henley, of course, has a long and proud tradition of rowing.
One thing in his favor when it comes to rowing? Trevor Weaser stands 6 feet 10 inches tall, giving him an amazing wingspan. Another is that he comes from a family of athletes.
His mother, the Poes’ daughter Laura, played basketball at the University of Missouri, his father rowed at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his sister, Monica, is a student at Loyola Marymount University in L.A., where, she, too, is a rower.
Trevor Weaser, who is thinking about joining the Marine Corps, is still deciding whether this is the swan song of his rowing career or if he will continue. In any case, he has gotten to participate in his sport at the international level and medal, and not many people can say that.
Don’t forget the La Plata County Fair is this week. Be sure to stop by and check out the projects of our friends and neighbors of all ages. We’ve got some talented folks here.
Celebrating their anniversaries during the lazy days of August are Robert and Shirley Newby, Ted and Nancy Carr, Preston and Renee Knight, Scott and Robin Southworth, Dick and Betty Perry, Kirk and Ginny Dignum, Jim and Kathie Hudson, Mick Souder and Linda Schwinghammer, Bruce and Jane Carman and Steve and Patti Dedrick.
Here’s how to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.
I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory) and include no more than three to five people. I need to know who’s who, left to right, and who to credit with the photo.